Former Manchester United star Michael Owen claims that Jack Grealish has ‘his heart set’ on moving to Old Trafford this summer.
The 24-year-old Grealish, who has scored nine goals and registered six assists this season, found the net on Sunday in the 1-1 draw at West Ham to confirm Aston Villa's survival in the Premier League.
The club captain has been heavily linked with a move away from Villa Park for most of the campaign, with Manchester United eyeing up an £80million move.
‘I’m told he has his heart set on Manchester United. I’d be surprised if he went anywhere else.’
Owen believes Grealish's market value will rocket after Villa's survival in the Premier League.
Villa's Egyptian co-owner Nassef Sawiris is not prepared to let his star asset leave on the cheap.
The businessman has raised Grealish's price tag from £70m to £80m as he claims he wants at least as much as United paid to Leicester last year for defender Harry Maguire.
Owen does, however, believe Villa are entitled to demand such a figure as he is an 'exceptional' player.
‘He’ll be more expensive now to possible suitors,’ admitted Owen. ‘There is that tie now that it’s his team and they’re still in the Premier League – it would have been an easier decision if they went down.
‘You can’t have someone like that playing in the Championship. He’s a top player; he would suit an awful lot of teams; he’s exceptional.
‘People compare him to [Leicester midfielder] James Maddison and others like that but I think he’s head and shoulders above him. He can run with the ball well, score goals, he’s in double figures this season, he assists.
‘He’s actually much better out of possession and I think that’s where this season he has developed that side. He covers a lot of ground. He’s not one of those flashy players where you give him the ball and he turns it on, he actually works hard out of possession as well.’
However, United are only willing to pay around £45m with an additional £10m in add-ons for the Villa star.
The Red Devils are convinced there will be a ‘market correction’ on player fees this summer, which will lower Villa's current asking price.
United also believe the attraction of Champions League football may tempt him, after their 2-0 victory over Leicester City on Sunday secured their qualification for Europe's premier club competition next season.