Jack Grealish is now Manchester United’s No.1 summer transfer target.

Aston Villa’s skipper is top of the wanted list for boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he seeks to push the Red Devils back in the big-time.

The 24-year-old playmaker has been at the centre of detailed due diligence that’s being undertaken by senior figures at Old Trafford over an £80m move.

Despite Grealish breaking lockdown to attend a house-party with former team-mate Ross McCormack – a move that ended with him picking up a £150,000 club fine – that has not put off Solskjaer.

But with cash at a premium this summer, United will prioritise Grealish over Jadon Sancho with Borussia Dortmund unwilling to lower their £100m asking price.

Solskjaer is a huge fan of the Villa No.10

The Bundesliga giants were asking a nine-figure fee for the England international and are happy to hold onto him for another season, despite alleged interest from Real Madrid.

That kind of outlay is becoming increasingly difficult for Manchester United to justify with respect to Sancho - as the club is losing cash at a rate of knots and there are alternatives to the winger within Solskjaer’s own squad.

However, it is Grealish who has captured the attention of the decision-makers at the club and, regardless of whether Villa are relegated, the Norwegian will press the button.

United are ready to wait on Sancho

They have been completing background checks on Villa’s captain during the past few weeks and it is still possible that their long-awaited move for Birmingham’s Jude Bellingham will also bear fruit.

The 16-year-old will celebrate his next birthday at the end of this month and will be eligible to sign professional forms.

However, that deal is still up in the air too, as Dortmund remain in the running for his signature.

His dad Mark is understood to be keen to follow Sancho’s example and for his son to continue his footballing education abroad.

Bellingham's future is not yet set

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Breaking into Manchester United’s first-team at the age of 17 – along with all the associated talent already assembled at the club – would be a big ask and playing first-team games is seen as more beneficial to the youngster’s improvement than being on the fringes at Old Trafford.

Birmingham are relatively relaxed about the situation because it is understood release figures over his transfer have been worked into his scholarship contract, dependent upon his first-team appearances at St Andrew’s. And that perhaps explains why the youngster has played well over 30 times for Pep Clotet’s men this season.

So, regardless of whether Bellingham signs a professional contract or not in three weeks’ time, the club appears to have covered itself against the possibility that the teenager will walk out for just the costs of his development – a drop in the ocean set against his true value in an open market.

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