Jack Grealish could have joined Man Utd for just £200,000 in 2012

Grealish could have joined Man United in 2012

Manchester United are heavily linked with signing Jack Grealish this summer.

The Aston Villa captain is seen as the perfect man to complete Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's midfield and reports suggest the club could spend £60 million to secure his signature. 

But they could have signed him for much cheaper back in 2012. 

That's according to former Villa boss Alex McLeish, who revealed Man United nearly snapped up Grealish for £200,000 compensation while he was a schoolboy. 

The teenager even dined with Rio Ferdinand at his Manchester restaurant, too. 

"Jack's contract was coming up [in 2012] and he was getting courted by Man United," McLeish told the Mirror.

"All the heads of department at Aston Villa discussed it in a meeting and I agreed with Bryan Jones 100 per cent that we had to keep him.

"Maybe it was unprecedented money we were giving to an academy kid. But it has turned out to be a great bit of business for Aston Villa. 

Aston Villa held on to Grealish despite Man Utd's interest

"We concocted getting him on the bench against Chelsea [at 16 years old] just to give him a taste.

“But the next month on the same day the first team were at Old Trafford, Jack and an agent were seen at Rio Ferdinand's restaurant that night.

“I am sure Jack was really happy being wanted by other massive teams but you knew his heart was at Villa. It was just a case of sorting out a suitable package.” 

Grealish could have joined United as a schoolboy

And sort a suitable package they did. Despite Man United's interest, Grealish went on to sign a pro contract with Aston Villa on his 17th birthday and has since gone on to captain his boyhood club. 

But with Man United reportedly ready to trigger his £60m release clause, the midfielder could be playing at Old Trafford next season.  

Although the Red Devils could have signed him for £59.8m cheaper in 2012, very few fans will be upset if he does finally pull on the club's famous shirt soon. 

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