Grealish will cost a hell of a lot even if Aston Villa fail in promotion bid, says Smith

The 23-year-old has been the star man for Villa this season and the manager is hopeful of keeping him beyond the summer

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith believes the club could persuade Jack Grealish to stay even if they fail to win promotion to the Premier League.

Grealish has been a key player for Villa, scoring six goals and setting up a further seven to help them reach the play-off final, in which they face Derby on Monday looking to book a return to the English top-flight. 

Tottenham are reportedly at the front of the queue of several Premier League teams interested in the 23-year-old, who has four years left on his contract with Villa.

Dean is confident Grealish will want to remain with his boyhood club if they go up this year, but it will take a big offer to convince them to let him go even if they miss out on promotion.

“He loves Aston Villa and he’ll want nothing more than to get promoted with Aston Villa,” Smith said. “If we don’t go up he’ll cost someone a hell of a lot of money if they want to buy him.

“For me he is committed to Aston Villa and we’ve not even spoken about it otherwise.”

Grealish joined Villa in 2001 as a six-year-old, and made his debut during the 2013-14 season.

The midfielder went on loan to Notts County in 2013-14 before breaking through with 17 league appearances for Villa the year after.

The 23-year-old featured for both England and Ireland on the youth level, having confirmed in 2015 that he would commit his international future to England.

Smith believes Grealish has the quality to be decisive as his side prepare for the match at Wembley, but says they will need more than the man with the captain’s armband to beat Frank Lampard’s team.

“Jack has been normal throughout,” he said. “It is not about one person or pressure, it’s about the team. If players perform as a team you have more chance.

“Yes, Jack Grealish has got that little bit of brilliance but so have the others. Talking to Jack, he knows that. He has relished being the captain of Aston Villa and is looking forward to the game and hopefully getting that win.”

Villa took down West Brom in penalties to seal their spot in the play-off final, where they’ll battle Derby in an effort to seal a Premier League spot. 

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