Alex Bruce suggests Aston Villa are preparing to replace Jack Grealish this summer with a potential move for Marseille playmaker Morgan Sanson.

The former Premier League defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes a top club could poach the Villa ace away and that Dean Smith needs to get a “safety net” in place.

French publication L’Equipe, as relayed by the Birmingham Mail, report that 25-year-old Sanson is high on the manager’s shopping list if the club avoid relegation this season.

It is said the versatile midfielder star is valued at £30million and may have to be sold this summer to help the French club stay avoid breaking Financial Fair Play rules.

Bruce admits that he thinks Grealish is set to leave for one of the “big boys” this summer and suggests the club are laying out their plans to replace him.

“They might be expecting to lose Jack Grealish, so they will be preparing for that,” Bruce told Football Insider.

“I do believe Villa have to prepare for his exit, yeah, because I think one of the big boys will come and take him. He’s an exceptional player. 

“If someone can meet the demands of how much it’s going to cost to get him out of there, Villa need to have a safety net in place for losing that player. They need to start building a squad to cope with what might happen.” 

Sanson has five goals and five assists under his belt for Marseille this season to help the club sit second in Ligue 1.

Grealish meanwhile has scored seven and set up a further six in the Premier League for the Villans since the club’s return to the top flight.

In other Aston Villa news, Alan Hutton suggests a “great” player could be first out the door this summer.