City feel Grealish might head down the road

Manchester City

Etihad bosses feel Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish has a preference for a move to Manchester United this summer despite having also scouted the player.

Manchester City chiefs are still drawing up plans to enhance the quality of their squad this summer despite not knowing if the two-year Champions League ban recently meted out by Uefa for Financial Fair Play irregularities will get overturned.

The Premier League champions have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and remain hopeful the sanction will be thrown out after the club has submitted further evidence.

City boss Pep Guardiola is looking to recruit as many as five new players in the close season and another midfielder is high on his list of priorities, with veteran David Silva moving on this summer after a decade of service.

City starlet Phil Foden is earmarked to fill the giant hole being left by the club legend although Guardiola is believed to want another quality addition at the heart of his engine room.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach was impressed by Grealish’s showing when the Citizens beat Villa 3-0 at the Etihad last October.

City’s own spies, however, are hearing the 24-year-old was a fan of United growing up and the Red Devils are firmly in the box seat, should Villa fail to avoid relegation and the club decide they do need to cash in.

Grealish has proved the standout figure for the struggling Villans this season, scoring nine times and City will not waste their time getting into a bidding war with their fierce rivals from across town.

Reports have suggested United are willing to pay around £75m to acquire the England Under-21 international although City sources have hinted they value the player much closer to £60m.

Guardiola and City will get another chance to assess Grealish’s talents up close when the two sides meet this Sunday at Wembley in the Carabao Cup final, with the Citizens aiming to win the trophy for a third successive year.