July 27, 2020 / 4:17 AM / 18 days ago

Villa boss Smith uncertain about Grealish future

Soccer Football - Premier League - West Ham United v Aston Villa - London Stadium, London, Britain - July 26, 2020 Aston Villa's Jack Grealish celebrates avoiding relegation to stay in the Premier League, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pool via REUTERS/Justin Setterfield

(Reuters) - Aston Villa manager Dean Smith says he is unsure whether captain Jack Grealish will be at the club next season but has warned potential suitors they will have to spend big if they want to sign him.

Grealish scored the opener in the 1-1 draw against West Ham United on Sunday, a result that, combined with Watford’s defeat at Arsenal, kept Villa in the Premier League.

Grealish has been linked to a host of English clubs and Smith said he had no idea what the future holds for the 24-year-old.

“I’m certainly hopeful he will play for Villa again. He is contracted for another three years, I think,” Smith said.

“I have said many times before we have billionaire owners. If people want to come and get our best players they will cost an awful lot of money.”

Villa had slipped to second from bottom with four games left after picking up one point from a possible 15. But they ensured survival by taking eight points from their final four games, including a 1-0 win over Arsenal.

“It’s a magnificent achievement from everybody. It’s a proud moment, and it actually feels better than last year going up in the play-offs,” Smith told BT Sport.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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