Steve Bruce confident Jack Grealish will sign new deal at Aston Villa
Steve Bruce is confident Jack Grealish will sign a new contract at Villa after backing his star man to refocus on the challenge of helping the club back to the Premier League.
The improved terms will likely see Grealish double his current £20,000-a-week salary to become one of the highest paid players at Villa Park, with the club keen to move on from a summer in which his future was a constant source of speculation.
Bruce believes Villa’s new executive chairman Nassef Sawiris delivered a ‘statement of intent’ by rebuffing the advances of Tottenham, though the manager admitted he would need to carefully assess Grealish’s state of mind before deciding whether to select the playmaker for Saturday’s home game with Wigan.
In the meantime, Villa will put together a financial package which better reflects the 22-year-old’s importance to the team. Bruce expects talks to move quickly and believes a deal could even be finalised within the next week.
Bruce said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if Jack signed a new contract in the next week. We’ve got to try to look after him in that respect.
“The owner has said that and what I can gather is, what he says, he sticks to.
“I can imagine we will sit down with Jack over the next few days.
“We’ll let the rawness disappear but it’s the first thing we can do for him.”
Bruce acknowledged Grealish felt a sense of disappointment at missing out on a move to the Premier League, having been told for most of the summer he would be sold to help the club’s finances.
Yet the arrival last month of Sawiris and fellow majority stakeholder Wes Edens completely altered the landscape.
Though Tottenham were willing to pay a fee of £25million, Bruce claimed no formal offer was ever made and believes there was no figure which would ultimately have convinced Sawiris to sell.
“If that’s not a statement of intent then I don’t know what is,” said the boss.
It is thought any new deal could include a clause allowing Grealish to leave next summer should Villa fail to win promotion this term.
Bruce explained: “I can understand Jack’s disappointment because if you're a footballer, especially these days, you want to play in the Premier League.
“To be in the top end, the Champions League, only a few can get to it. He’s had that opportunity taken away from him.
“What was vitally important was that he understood the situation, he understood the stance of the new owner and respected it.
“It couldn’t have been easy but he hasn’t once come and knocked down the door or demanded anything.
“He’s been hugely respectful, as has his family.”
Bruce continued: “He’s been here since he was six years old so he wasn’t going to be throwing his toys out the pram.
“He’s took it on the chin and I expect Jack to hit the heights this year.
“I hope that he can recover from it quickly and reproduce the form that took us close to the Premier League last season.
“Then, in 12 months time, we will sit down and take stock.”