Jack Grealish exit would not damage Aston Villa dreams says club legend Morley

Aston Villa are better placed to win silverware than at any time in the last 40 years – with or without Jack Grealish.

The club's inspirational England winger is wanted by champions Manchester City – leaving many asking how Dean Smith’s Midlands outfit will cope should the proposed £100million move become reality.

Well, according to Villa legend Tony Morley, there is nothing for the Claret and Blue faithful to worry about unduly.

Sure, Grealish is a maverick, who has helped lead his beloved club back into the top flight – and keep them there for a couple of campaigns.

Yet Morley is adamant Villa’s future is bright – whatever the outcome of City's summer pursuit of their skipper.

And that’s courtesy of a Villa Park hierarchy as solid and bold as any he can recall, allied to the club’s superb scouting network.

Morley, a league and European Cup winner with Villa in the early 80s, declared: “Jack’s a tremendous talent. We all know what you get from him.

“But if City offer £100m, then Villa must take it – and move onwards and upwards.

“He’s 26 in September and, as we’ve seen with some of our recent signings, like Douglas Luiz from City and Emiliano Buendia from Norwich, there's plenty of quality for us out there.

“A club is only as good as the people at the top and Villa’s present owners actually make me envious that I’m not playing in this era.

“That's because of the money they invest. If we'd had that type ambition at top in my time, Villa would have grown into a football superpower.

“The current board spend, they back manager Dean Smith – and they want success. That doesn’t just mean top ten. That means qualifying for Europe and getting a domestic trophy.

“I’m convinced Villa can and will win something next season. They’re better equipped than at any stage since winning the European Cup in 1982.

“It's an exciting time… but not necessarily reliant on keeping Jack.”

Indeed, in Morley's mind, John McGinn, the dynamic box-to-box Scotland midfielder, is more influential and essential to Smith’s Villains.

Last term’s stats may not support that argument. Yet the ex-England, Burnley and West Brom ace, 66, reckons that was down to McGinn shoring up the midfield – allowing Grealish his license to roam.

“John’s so important and to keep him is vital," Morley added. “I’m not saying he’s the greater talent of the two but the shift he does every week is incredible.

“He didn’t score or make many goals last season but he was playing deep to accommodate Jack – who has more freedom on the pitch than anyone in the league.

“If we did sell Jack, then John can be the lynchpin, the focal point – and we still have loads of world-class options going forward.”

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