Man City have been made aware that Jack Grealish has a release clause in his recently-signed Aston Villa contract, Football Insider can reveal.
City are laying the groundwork for a summer move for the Villa talisman and are ready to pay a huge fee to get their man.
A recruitment source has told Football Insider that City have been exploring the costs of signing Grealish after making him their top summer target and are aware of the release clause in his deal.
The England international, 25, signed a new five-year contract last September that runs until the summer of 2025.
But it is believed to contain a buyout clause that would trigger his departure for a set fee.
Sheikh Mansour-owned City have the funds and ambition to afford Grealish even though manager Pep Guardiola has played down suggestions of a mega-money move for Erling Haaland this summer.
As revealed by Football Insider last week, Grealish has told friends he would be interested in moving to City in the upcoming window.
He is said to be excited about the possibility of playing his peak years at a side regularly competing in the Champions League final stages and for the Premier League title.
It is a delicate situation for Grealish, who is a boyhood Villa fan and has spent his entire career at the club where he is idolised by supporters.
Villa’s hugely ambitious billionaire owners Wes Edens and Naseef Sawiris are planning to fund another massive summer signing spree and hope the capture of some elite talents can keep Grealish for another year.
Among their targets are two forwards who can compete straight away for a starting role next season.
Grealish is currently sidelined with a shin problem and has missed his team’s last eight Premier League matches.
But he was outstanding before his injury and has made 23 appearances for Villa this season, which have yielded seven goals and 12 assists.