Failing to earn promotion to the Premier League this season does not bare thinking about for Aston Villa.
Because not only will their hopes of keeping loanees Sam Johnstone and Robert Snodgrass look dead in the water, there is also a chance that the rising star that is Jack Grealish may be tempted by a move away from the club he joined at the age of six.
Grealish lost his way a little after that excellent 2014/15 breakthrough season but is in the form of his life right now, reminding everyone why England and the Republic of Ireland once fought tooth and nail for his international allegiance.
The 22-year-old has blossomed into a matchwinner in the last few months under Steve Bruce and followed up a stunning volleyed goal in the 1-0 success over Cardiff City with the assist for Lewis Grabban’s strike in another narrow victory on Friday night, this time against Leeds United.
It is this kind of game-changing magic that explains why Leicester City want to sign Grealish for £20 million this summer, according to the Sun. The report adds that he is likely to be handed an increase on his £20,000-a-week wages if Villa are promoted but, if they fail in the play-offs, he will become their most sell-able asset with the Midland giants needing to cut costs.
But rather than worrying about Grealish’s potential exit, Villa fans should be lauding their manager Steve Bruce for helping this most enigmatic of talents realise his vast potential.
Premier League clubs would not have touched Grealish with a barge pole last summer, but reports that a £20 million bid could be heading Villa’s way is testament to Bruce and his success in putting this once wayward talent back on the straight and narrow.
Some Villa fans might still be a little sceptical of the job Bruce has done at Villa Park. But Grealish above all others reflects the improvements that have been made under his tenure.