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transfer puzzle Why Manchester City's pursuit of Jack Grealish is linked to their push to sign Harry Kane

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Jack Grealish of England looks on during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group D match between Czech Republic and England at Wembley. (Photo by Carl Recine - Pool/Getty Images)

Jack Grealish of England looks on during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group D match between Czech Republic and England at Wembley. (Photo by Carl Recine - Pool/Getty Images)

Jack Grealish of England looks on during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group D match between Czech Republic and England at Wembley. (Photo by Carl Recine - Pool/Getty Images)

Manchester City will only try to sign Jack Grealish if they fail in their pursuit of Harry Kane, the Sunday World has been told.

Sources close to Grealish have informed us that they have been aware of City’s intention to make a move for the Aston Villa captain for several months.

Yet, they have also confirmed that no formal talks over a transfer have been started with Villa, and they don’t expect any movement in a possible transfer until Kane’s future at Tottenham is resolved.

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Tottenham striker Harry Kane has been strongly linked with Manchester City (Shaun Botterill/PA)

Tottenham striker Harry Kane has been strongly linked with Manchester City (Shaun Botterill/PA)

Tottenham striker Harry Kane has been strongly linked with Manchester City (Shaun Botterill/PA)

The England captain has told Spurs that he wants to leave the club this summer, with his brother and agent, Charlie Kane, fully aware that City are keen to sign the 27-year-old striker.

City’s initial £100million bid for Kane was lodged earlier this week, with the suggestion that they would be willing to trade players such as Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte as part of the deal.

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England's Harry Kane.

England's Harry Kane.

England's Harry Kane.

Shambolic

Yet, that proposal was quickly dismissed by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who appreciates that he dare not sell Kane at a time when he is in the midst of a shambolic hunt for a new manager.

Julian Nagelsmann, Erik ten Hag, Mauricio Pochettino, Antonio Conte, Paulo Fonseca and Julen Lopetegui have all turned down approaches to take over at Spurs this summer.

Now they are in talks with former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo over the vacancy created by Jose Mourinho’s sacking in April, but that appointment will not have any impact on Kane’s desire to leave.

For now, Levy’s stance is he will not consider selling Kane to City and opening up the prospect of their star striker returning to Tottenham on the opening day of the new Premier League season to play against his former club.

It may need Kane to make a public statement confirming he wants to leave to try and force through a transfer, but the player is reluctant to do that as it would impact his relationship with Spurs fans.

So, unless Levy has a change of heart, Kane will be staying at Tottenham against his wishes – and that could open the door for City to move for Grealish.

City manager Pep Guardiola has gone on record to state that he is a big admirer of the former Republic of Ireland under-age player, who is currently playing for England at the Euro 2020 finals.

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Pep Guardiola and Manchester City's first game of the new Premier League season will be against Spurs. Photo: PA Wire

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City's first game of the new Premier League season will be against Spurs. Photo: PA Wire

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City's first game of the new Premier League season will be against Spurs. Photo: PA Wire

Yet, luring him away from Villa will be tough, with the midlands club already making moves to open contract talks with their club captain.

Our source tells us that while Grealish would be reluctant to leave his beloved Villa, the chance to play for the Premier League champions and work with Guardiola would be a tempting prospect if agreement could be reached on a fee.

Guardiola has previously stated his belief that Grealish is “too expensive” for City, but the club’s owners have made a promise to be ambitious in this summer’s transfer market.

“Having won the league, it is not the time to sit back and be content. That would be your biggest mistake,” said City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak earlier this month.

“This is the time to send a strong message, that there’s no contentment, that you’re not satisfied with just winning the league.

“You want to win it again and you are committed, and you are bringing more talent that is going to compete, not for the squad, but for the starting XI.

“We lose a very important legend in Sergio Aguero. They are very hard shoes to fill, but I’m confident that we will find the right player to fill those shoes.

“There are other areas within the group, within the team that, obviously, need investment. Not too many. It’s not about numbers, it’s about quality. I think the squad is a phenomenal squad.

“You don’t win the Premier League and you don’t reach the Champions League final if you don’t have an incredible squad, and we have got that.

“We will bring quality into the squad in a couple of key positions.”

Struggle

City have also expressed a strong interest in signing Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, but there is a feeling that they would struggle to complete that deal and conform to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations.

They do still believe it could be possible to sign Kane if the striker pushes for the move to go through, with Grealish waiting in the wings if that deal fails to materialise.

There have been questions over why City need a player of Grealish’s ilk in a team already loaded with attacking-midfield players, but Guardiola’s admiration for him will drive any interest.

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Could Kylian Mbappe be on the move? (Martin Rickett/PA)

Could Kylian Mbappe be on the move? (Martin Rickett/PA)

Could Kylian Mbappe be on the move? (Martin Rickett/PA)

Meanwhile, Liverpool continue to be linked with a move to sign Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe, in one of the more bizarre transfer rumours of the summer.

Liverpool’s American owners have never shown any inclination to get involved in transfer negotiations for a player of Mbappe’s value during their time running the club, yet well-placed sources suggest the Anfield club are interested in the France striker.

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge suggested last month that the only way the Reds could try to sign Mbappe or Haaland would be if Mohamed Salah leaves, with the Egyptian yet to extend his contract that is due to expire in the summer of 2023.

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