By Harry Sykes
Middlesbrough are preparing a sensational move for Aston Villa star Jack Grealish, according to a report.
The Mail claim the Premier League outfit are lining up Grealish as an alternative if their wide forward Gaston Ramirez moves to Leicester.
It is said the champions have already had a £12million bid for the Argentine rejected by Boro as they hold out for a fee of around £15million.
The Mail report that Riverside manager Aitor Karanka is keen to secure a replacement for Ramirez before the window cut-off next Tuesday and has his eye of a number of targets, including Grealish.
Villa and Boro have traded four players in recent windows, with Brad Guzan, Rudy Gestede and Adama Traore moving to the north-east, and Albert Adomah heading the other way.
The transfer of Grealish would comfortably be the biggest deal yet, and Villa’s most sensational transaction of what has been a hive of activity this month.
The 21-year-old attacking midfielder is a boyhood Villa fan and star graduate of the club’s academy and was widely regarded as a great hope of English football when he burst onto the scene two seasons ago.
The Mail report Grealish is regarded as a big talent by manager Steve Bruce but Villa could be forced to cash in on him due to Financial Fair Play rules were they to continue what has already been a major revamp of the squad in January.
It is stated that it would take a “significant fee” to prise Grealish from Villa Park in the next four days.
Villa chiefs Tony Xia and Keith Wyness promised fans on Thursday that the Midlands giants will be very busy in the final days of the January window, despite already signing five new players.
Villa completed their fifth signing of the month on Thursday when Conor Hourihane finalised his transfer from Barnsley.
The midfielder’s move from Oakwell follows the double arrival of James Bree and Birkir Bjarnason on Wednesday, and the signings of Henri Lansbury and Sam Johnstone earlier in the window.
But the Villa top brass have revealed their work is not yet done this month as the revamp of Bruce’s squad is set to continue in the next five days.
Chinese businessman Xia revealed on his personal Twitter account that the club are “still working” to “improve the squad” and there are set to be incomings as well as outgoings before next Tuesday’s 11pm cut-off.
We’re still working 2 make some in&out2improve the squad till the end of the win as we’ll keep fighting until we get where we should be!#UTV
— Dr. Tony Xia (@Dr_TonyXia) January 26, 2017
In other Aston Villa transfer news, Stan Collymore has delivered his verdict on the club’s new signing.