Arsenal and Spurs are both in the midst of a busy summer transfer window as they look to bridge the gap between them and the rest of the so-called top six.
The north London sides finished eighth and seventh respectively last term, condemning them to another season without UEFA Champions League football, a competition that both sides are desperate to get back into next season.
The Gunners, who have failed to qualify for the European showpiece in each of their last five campaigns, are looking to add a. creative midfielder to the ranks this summer, as first revealed by football.london back in May.
football.london understands that Leicester City’s James Maddison is ‘at the top of the list’ for Arsenal but they had previously been credited with an interest in another Englishman, Jack Grealish.
Grealish completed a £100million transfer to reigning Premier League champions Manchester City on Thursday night but the Gunners were thought to ‘admire’ the 25-year-old, according to a report from The Athletic.
Similarly, Tottenham had held a long-standing interest in the England international, having tried to sign the tricky playmaker back in the summer of 2018 as chairman Daniel Levy saw a £25 million bid rejected, according to the Telegraph.
Reports at the time claimed that Grealish was keen on a move to the Lillywhites before Levy failed to match Villa’s £40million asking price, something that will have Spurs supporters kicking themselves thinking of a front three that could have been, involving Grealish, Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son.
However, Aston Villa’s chief executive Christian Purslow confirmed the reason that the two north London clubs were unable to sign the former Villa captain this summer, citing a release clause in his contract as the deciding factor.
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“Jack (Grealish) wanted to be certain that if at any point a Champions League club came in for him and Aston Villa was not in that competition, that we would not stand in his way”, Purslow said in a video on Villa’s official Twitter account.
“For that reason, we agreed to incorporate a so-called release clause into his contract. Our board set this clause at a value of £100million, knowing that would be, by some way, a record price for a British footballer and also a record fee for any player bought by a Premier League club.”