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Manchester City have tabled a stunning £100m bid for Jack Grealish that would make him the most expensive signing in Premier League history.
But Aston Villa have offered the England ace a bumper new deal worth £200,000-a-week in a desperate attempt to keep him.
Villa are prepared to smash their pay ceiling to keep Grealish out of the clutches of City, with owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris personally sanctioning the £10m-a-year contract for their prize asset.
But City remain determined to land Grealish and have made him their new No.1 target after reaching an impasse with Tottenham over Harry Kane.
City boss Pep Guardiola wants the 25-year-old and talks have now begun between the two clubs in a bid to broker a deal that would eclipse English football's previous transfer record of £90m, when Manchester United re-signed Paul Pogba from Juventus in 2016.
Grealish has been on holiday following his involvement with England at the delayed Euros.
The attacking midfielder will return to training with Villa on Monday, when he is expected to tell club bosses he wants to join City.
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But City are not willing to wait that long and will press ahead with a deal for Grealish as soon as possible, ahead of the start of the new campaign on August 14.
Villa boss Dean Smith has based his summer transfer activity on his talismanic captain staying put – but Grealish's exit now looks inevitable.
Grealish will find it impossible to ignore the chance to challenge for major trophies under Guardiola, while at the same time still earning more than is now on offer at his boyhood club.
Grealish is also a huge fan of Kevin De Bruyne and has dreamt of the chance to play alongside the City talisman, to boost his chances of becoming a regular starter in Gareth Southgate's England team.
Villa's offer to Grealish is a statement of intent, but City chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak is willing to meet their £100m valuation and is confident of getting the deal over the line.
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