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Dean Smith: Jack Grealish exit would require 'a lot of money' if Aston Villa miss out on promotion

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published: | Last Updated:

Dean Smith has warned it would take ‘a hell of a lot of money’ for Jack Grealish to leave Villa if they lose Monday's play-off final.

Jack Grealish Pic: AMA.

Grealish’s future is one of several which could be determined by the result of the club’s promotion showdown with Derby.

The 23-year-old, who will captain his boyhood club at Wembley, signed a new five-year deal last September which is thought to include a £60million buyout clause.

Victory and promotion would guarantee he remained at Villa Park, yet defeat would mean a fight to keep him.

Grealish was pursued by Tottenham after Villa were beaten by Fulham in last year's play-off final.

Smith said: “If you ask me after the game (about Grealish’s future), my answer will be no different.

“He’s signed a brand new contract at the start of the season, committing himself to the club.

“He loves Aston Villa and he’ll want nothing more than to get promoted with Aston Villa.

“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.”

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Grealish’s return after nearly three months out with a fractured shin in early March helped spark Villa’s charge into the play-offs and the spotlight will shine brightly upon him when they take on the Rams.

But Smith is keen to stress responsibility does not rest solely on his skipper’s shoulders.

He said: “That is something right from the off we have played down. It is not about one person or pressure, it is about the team.

“If players perform as a team you have more chance. It is not down to Jack Grealish. Yes Jack Grealish has got that little bit of brilliance but so has John McGinn and so has Tammy (Abraham) and (Anwar) El Ghazi, Tyrone Mings.

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“We won’t put any pressure on any individual and talking to Jack he doesn’t feel that either, he has relished being the captain of Aston Villa and is looking forward to the game and hopefully getting that win.”

Promotion is worth and estimated £170million and victory at Wembley, for either club, would significantly ease any lingering pressures over profit and sustainability rules.

Smith, however, has moved to assure supporters that failure would not send Villa spiralling into the kind of crisis they experienced 12 months ago, when defeat left them on the brink of administration.

Billionaire duo Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens eventually stepped in to save the club at the 11th hour and have since pumped in more than £68million.

Smith, together with chief executive Christian Purslow and sporing director Jesus Garcia Pitarch, has worked to ensure Villa have a clear strategy for the summer in place regardless of Monday’s result.

He said: “You have to prepare for winning or losing.

“One way or another, on Monday night we will either be a Premier League team or a Championship team and you have to have two scenarios for it.

“But the difference this year is that the owners we’ve got are fully behind the club. It’s on an even keel and hopefully moving in an upwards direction.

“We all know the financial turmoil the club was in last season and at the beginning of this but we’ve got new owners who have got big ambitions – not just for the first team but for the academy as well.

“The restrictions that come with the EFL make it tougher but if you’re in the Premier League the potential for this club is great.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
Football MMPJ - @mjmarr_star

Sports journalist for the Express & Star

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