The former Villans frontman believes a talented midfielder generating plenty of interest can be retained despite the intense exit speculation
Aston Villa have been advised on how to fend off the interest being shown in Jack Grealish from Manchester United, with Gabriel Agbonlahor urging the club’s board to turn off their phones until the next transfer window has closed.
Those at Villa Park can expect to field calls regarding the availability of a prized asset at some stage over the coming months.
Grealish has shown himself to be a capable Premier League performer, with the 24-year-old revelling in a role as talismanic club captain with the Villans.
His current ability and future potential has attracted plenty of admiring glances from afar, with United among those in the market for added creativity.
A big-money offer from Old Trafford would make it difficult for Villa to retain the services of a key man, but Agbonlahor believes Grealish could be talked into spending at least one more season with his boyhood club.
A fellow product of Villa’s academy system told the Birmingham Mail’s Claret & Blue podcast: “I think he will (stay).
“I know everyone’s 50/50 but I think he will because the club’s built around him.
“Villa will stay up and the club will be built around him again.
“He’s captain and he’s still posting photos of him at the academy when he started when he was six.
“It’s similar to me, I had chances to leave but, when the club means that much to you, the grass isn’t always greener.”
Agbonlahor added on the approach Villa needed to take with Grealish: “If I was the owner of Aston Villa at the moment, I’d just turn my phone off! If a player who’s so crucial to your team – like Jack is to Aston Villa – to get results, I’m not selling him.
“Selling a player of Jack’s calibre’s going to cost you much more in the long run. You may get a lot for him but you’ve got to stay in the Premier League no matter what, that’s where the money’s at.
“For me, I’m turning my phone off in the summer if I’m the Villa owner and, when the transfer window is over, I’d turn it back on so he can’t move.
“That’s what I’d do. Fingers crossed he stays. It’s down to him.”
Grealish has taken in 176 appearances for Villa to date, scoring 24 goals, and is looking to force his way into the senior England squad – be that in his current surroundings or with the assistance of securing a switch elsewhere.