Manchester City have made a record £ 100million bid for Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish.
City manager Pep Guardiola has made the 25-year-old England midfielder one of his main targets.
It is understood that there has been communication between the two Premier League clubs throughout the summer.
City moved before Grealish returned to Villa for the start of pre-season training at Bodymoor Heath next week.
Guardiola believes Grealish can add an extra dimension to City’s attack and propel them to the Champions League title for the first time, which they missed last season when they were beaten in the final by Chelsea.
The fees, which would eclipse the £ 89million paid by Manchester United for Paul Pogba in 2016 as the highest ever paid by an English club, underline how much Guardiola is keen on having Grealish in his squad.
His abilities with the ball made him a fan favorite, who moved to England this summer when many believed he was underused by Gareth Southgate.
Grealish was expected to have talks with his club about his future when he started pre-season training with Villa after his duty in England at Euro 2020.
City knew the fees Villa was likely to want for their playmaker and lifelong Villa fan – and are not disheartened in their pursuit. The Etihad club were confident earlier this week that they would close the deal this summer.
Tottenham forward and Grealish England teammate Harry Kane has also been closely linked with a move to Etihad Stadium after he has made it clear he wants to leave Spurs this summer.
If City land Grealish for £ 100million it will make him the ninth most expensive player in history.
Only eight players have yet claimed transfer fees of £ 100million or more.
The five best transfer fees in the world
Neymar [Barcelona – Paris St-Germain] £ 200 million in 2017
Kylian Mbappé [Monaco – Paris St-Germain] 166 million pounds sterling in 2017
Philippe Coutinho [Liverpool – Barcelona] 142 million pounds sterling in 2018
Ousmane Dembele [Borussia Dortmund – Barcelona] total amount of £ 135 million in 2017
Joao Felix [Benfica – Atletico Madrid] £ 113 million in 2019