By Nick Mashiter
Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce has warned Tottenham there is no cheap solution in their pursuit of Jack Grealish.
The manager confirmed for the first time the clubs are in talks over the midfielder but Spurs — who are yet to make a signing this summer — are nowhere near Villa’s asking price.
Bruce was resigned to losing Grealish on the cheap before Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens’ takeover last month which saved Villa from possible administration.
The club must still comply with Financial Fair Play and selling Grealish would virtually solve the issue but Bruce has told Spurs they can no longer agree a knockdown price.
“I don’t want to lose Jack and neither do the owners. We don’t want to lose our best players but it’s football and it might happen,” he said.
“The one thing we’re able to do is be in a much better bargaining position because now, if Spurs want to buy him, they will have to buy him at a premium that in the last few weeks they haven’t been able to get to.
"Take money out of it, we’re in the Championship and Tottenham are in the Champions League so I’m aware that there is a human involved and a football player.
“A football player always wants to play at the top. He’s a local lad who has done great.
Bruce also admitted Villa would be prepared to offer Grealish — who has two years left on his current deal — a new contract if he stayed beyond Thursday’s transfer deadline.
He said: “Of course we would, we all would, but I have not had that conversation because up until two weeks ago, everyone was for sale.”
Villa must find around £40m (€45m) to adhere to FFP regulations but Bruce said they would find a way to resolve it if they did not sell Grealish, who could still play in Monday’s Sky Bet Championship opener at Hull.
“It’s something we’re going to have to try to navigate,” he said. “We’ve navigated it before, just last year, so it’s something we’re going to have to try to navigate this year.
“I believe there are eight clubs under embargo in the Championship now. They all keep that quiet so we’re not the only ones but that’s been lifted now.”
Meanwhile, Alex Iwobi has signed a new deal at Arsenal.
The 22-year-old Nigeria international came through the ranks with the Gunners and yesterday agreed a fresh, “long-term” contract at the Emirates Stadium.
Iwobi scored three goals in 26 league games under Arsene Wenger last season, although there was speculation he could be sold this summer following Wenger’s departure.
But new head coach Unai Emery confirmed on the recent pre-season tour of Singapore that the forward was close to agreeing fresh terms.
Now the deal has been announced, Iwobi wants to build on what he has already achieved at Arsenal having made his debut in 2015.
“It’s always been my childhood dream to represent Arsenal,” he said.
“To get an extended contract is an amazing feeling and I hope I’m doing the Arsenal family proud, as well as my family.”
Emery said: “I’m very pleased Alex has signed a new contract with us. I look forward to working with him and our other talented young players in the squad.”
Emery will have been less pleased by the news defender Sead Kolasinac will miss eight to 10 weeks with a knee injury.
Barcelona have agreed a deal to sign teenage Senegal defender Moussa Wague from Belgian side KAS Eupen.