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Exclusive: Why Man United didn't sign Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish

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Manchester United were never close to making a move for Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish this summer, with the attacking midfielder signing a new five-year deal at Villa Park on Tuesday.

With Villa putting a price tag of £80million on Grealish, United had no intention of doing business at those figures for a player who wouldn't have been guaranteed a first-team spot straightaway.

Grealish featured on United's list of potential recruits during this transfer window and he was admired at Old Trafford, but the MEN understands there were no discussions with Villa during the summer over a deal for the 25-year-old.

The focus on Sancho didn't stop the club signing Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek for £35million, but it's understood the Holland international wasn't seen as a direct alternative to Grealish.

He began last season in an advanced midfield role at Villa before moving to the left of a front three, a position nailed down at Old Trafford by Marcus Rashford.

While Van de Beek can also play in an advanced midfield role, providing support and cover to Bruno Fernandes, he also brings more versatility to midfield, having played in a deeper position as well at Ajax, a role that is unaccustomed to Grealish.

Instead United's focus during the window has been on their top target, in Borussia Dortmund's England winger Jadon Sancho.
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