Alex McLeish claims Manchester United almost signed Jack Grealish for £200k compensation as a schoolboy.
Man Utd have been heavily linked with a move for Grealish after the Aston Villa midfielder’s brilliant form in the Premier League this term that has seen him score seven goals and provide six assists.
The latest reports claimed on Tuesday that United want to sign Grealish ‘early in the summer transfer window’ and have already ‘expressed interest’.
And former Aston Villa boss McLeish has revealed that United came close to landing Grealish after he dined in Rio Ferdinand’s restaurant in 2012.
McLeish told the Daily Mirror: “Bryan told me Jack’s contract was coming up and he was getting courted by Man United. All the heads of department at Aston Villa discussed it in a meeting and I agreed with Bryan Jones 100 per cent that we had to keep him.
“Maybe it was unprecedented money we were giving to an academy kid. But it has turned out to be a great bit of business for Aston Villa.
“I used to go down and watch the academy games and he was a precocious young talent and something you treasure.
“He stood out and wore his socks down even then. I remember his dad came in my office and we said we would do everything we could to make Jack happy and stay at Aston Villa.
“We concocted getting him on the bench against Chelsea just to give him a taste.
“But the next month on the same day the first team were at Old Trafford, Jack and an agent were seen at Rio Ferdinand’s restaurant that night.
“I am sure Jack was really happy being wanted by other massive teams but you knew his heart was at Villa. It was just a case of sorting out a suitable package.”
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