Jack Grealish believed he was on course to join Manchester United in the summer transfer window.
But the Red Devils pulled out of a move to sign the Aston Villa playmaker over financial concerns amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Having spent nearly £40m on midfielder Donny van de Beek, United were reluctant to fork out on England international Grealish.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a fan of the 25-year-old and United were prepared to pay up to £65m at one stage.
However, they then made a U-turn over adding Grealish to their squad, after the player had even told friends he was on his wat to Old Trafford, according to the Daily Mail .
He ultimately signed a new five-year contract at Villa Park just 24 hours later.
With Solskjaer still keen on Grealish, United may have missed their opportunity to secure his services at a decent price.
His value has since increased even further after a spectacular first half of the 2020/21 campaign.
Grealish has helped lead Villa’s charge for European football, and his price-tag is now nearer the £100m mark.
United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward may well regret the transfer breaking down four months ago, especially if he inflicts pain on Solskjaer’s men at Old Trafford.
New Year’s Day sees the Red Devils host Villa in the Premier League at 8pm.
A victory for United would see them climb up into second place and level on points with reigning champions Liverpool.
Villa, though, have top-four ambitions of their own, and have games in hand on their rivals.
Dean Smith’s fifth-placed side will leapfrog Leicester with a win, and would also climb above Everton if they lose to West Ham.
United go into the game four points in front of Villa, having played one game more this season.
Grealish is expected to start, and he has fond memories of Villa’s last visit to Old Trafford back in December 2019 when he curled home a worldie in a 2-2 draw.
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