Aston Villa face a summer struggle to keep hold of midfielder Jack Grealish, as Tottenham Hotspur reignite their interest in the 23-year-old.
Mauricio Pochettino failed in his attempts to sign Grealish last summer for £25m, with the Englishman signing a new five-year deal at Villa Park, but it has been reported that Spurs will make another move in the 2019 summer transfer window.
According to the Daily Mirror, Tottenham will join fellow Premier League clubs West Ham United and Bournemouth in an attempt to bring Grealish to the top flight - a move that would be welcomed by England manager Gareth Southgate.
Speaking before last Friday's Euro 2020 qualifying win over the Czech Republic, Southgate spoke to the media about Grealish's England future and cited the lack of top level football as a factor in Grealish's exclusion from the Three Lions squad.
“The difficulty is always that, although we can see the quality, he’s at a different level and it’s hard to directly correlate what that will look like at a level above. With Callum [Hudson-Odoi], he’s playing Europa League, he’s playing Premier League, that makes a difference.
“I’m not going to say we won’t pick from the Championship, as that could happen, but it’s far more difficult to assess his level."
Despite scoring just four goals and making four assists, Grealish has performed well for Aston Villa this season and has worn the captain's armband three times in March, but Southgate admits a call-up is unlikely until he makes the step up to the Premier League.
“That’s at another level in the Premier League, the speed, the pace. So, Jack’s a player we know all about, he’s a player we track. But that last bit of evidence, which could give you confidence to pick him, we haven’t seen."
🏴 Gareth Southgate won't be calling up Jack Grealish until he is playing in the Premier League, yet he picked...— The Sportsman (@TheSportsman) March 25, 2019
- Jack Butland: plays for Stoke
- Callum Hudson-Odoi: has yet to start in the Premier League
Makes sense that Gareth. #ThreeLions#AVFC pic.twitter.com/0f08KXiYkj
Grealish switched his international allegiances from the Republic of Ireland to England in 2015 but he still awaits his first senior call-up, and a summer move to England's top division is vital to his international future as he risks falling further behind younger players like Hudson-Odoi and Jadon Sancho.