By Graham Hill
DEAN Smith insists he and Jack Grealish have not discussed the Villa skipper’s future.
Grealish is almost certain to move on if Villa do not beat Derby County in Monday’s Championship Play-off Final.
But Smith has made it clear that Grealish signed a five year deal last September.
That contract is believed to include a release clause of £60million for a player who is widely tipped to be a future England star.
Smith light-heartedly admitted after the Norwich game that he would make that figure even higher if he could,
But the Villa boss maintains that Grealish, 23, is totally committed to the club – and wants to win promotion.
That is Villa’s best chance of holding on to Grealish with owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris ready to open the chequebook if there is a return to the Premier League.
Defeat would open the door for Tottenham to make another move for the midfielder after failing to land him last season.
Smith told reporters when asked about Grealish’s prospects this summer: “If you ask me after the game my answer will be no different.
“He’s signed a brand new contract at the start of the season, committing himself to the club.
“He loves Aston Villa and he’ll want nothing more than to get promoted with Aston Villa.
“If we don’t go up, he’ll cost someone a hell of a lot of money if they want to buy him.
“For me, he’s committed to Aston Villa and we’ve not even spoken about it otherwise.”
Smith maintains that the key to Villa’s fate at Wembley does not lie simply on Grealish’s shoulders.
The Villa boss added: “That’s something right from the off we have played down. It’s not about one person or pressure, it’s about the team.
“If players perform as a team you have more chance. It’s not down to Jack Grealish. Yes Jack’s got that little bit of brilliance but so has John McGinn and so has Tammy Abraham and Anwar El Ghazi, Tyrone Mings.
“We won’t put any pressure on any individual and, talking to Jack, he doesn’t feel that either, he’s relished being the captain of Aston Villa and is looking forward to the game and hopefully getting that win.”