Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce has warned Tottenham there is no cheap solution in their pursuit of Jack Grealish.
The manager confirmed for the first time the clubs are in talks over the midfielder but Spurs – who are yet to make a signing this summer – are nowhere near Villa’s asking price.
Bruce was resigned to losing Grealish on the cheap before Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens’ takeover last month which saved Villa from possible administration.
The club must still comply with Financial Fair Play and selling Grealish would virtually solve the issue but Bruce has told Spurs they can no longer agree a knockdown price.
“I don’t want to lose Jack and neither do the owners. We don’t want to lose our best players but it’s football and it might happen,” he said.
“The one thing we’re able to do is be in a much better bargaining position because now, if Spurs want to buy him, they will have to buy him at a premium that in the last few weeks they haven’t been able to get to.
“Take money out of it, we’re in the Championship and Tottenham are in the Champions League so I’m aware that there is a human involved and a football player.
“A football player always wants to play at the top. He’s a local lad who has done great.
“Ever since I walked through the door it’s always been about Grealish one way or another and continues to be here.
“He’s our best player by a distance and a very good player.”