Jack Grealish’s breathtaking start to the season at Aston Villa has left Manchester United fans wondering what could have been.
Villa’s totemic captain has made an inspired start, scoring four goals and adding five assists to help Dean Smith’s side to sixth in the league table before the international break.
After the talismanic playmaker helped his boyhood club narrowly survive the drop last term, many expected Grealish to seek a move elsewhere to enhance his England ambitions with United strongly linked.
However, Athletic journalist David Ornstein has explained on the Tifo Podcast ‘Ask Ornstein’ Series that the financial impact of COVID-19 this summer meant clubs couldn’t match Villa’s asking price for their star man.
The 25-year-old instead signed a new five-year deal that keeps him at Villa Park until 2025, as per AVFC.
Ornstein notes that some possible suitors were also not sold on whether Grealish was worth the kind of money that was being touted, particularly after just one impressive season in the Premier League.
He has also revealed that in a pre-season friendly, United’s players joked with the England international about a potential move to Old Trafford.
“Interestingly there was a friendly between Aston Villa and Man United at Villa Park ahead of the new season starting and I think in a humorous way a number of the United players were saying to Grealish, ‘When are you joining us?'”
“But there was nothing from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer towards him and I think by that point it was pretty clear to Grealish that it wasn’t going to happen.”
Grealish’s blistering start to the season has contrasted sharply with that of Donny van de Beek, who was seen as an alternative when he was signed this summer.
Van de Beek has made an impact each time he has been given minutes by Solskjaer but the Dutchman’s lack of game time has been baffling.
Perhaps Solskjaer will finally give van de Beek a consistent run of games where he can prove his worth to the Reds after the international break.