Pep Guardiola has urged Manchester City to sign Aston Villa's Jack Grealish following a glowing recommendation from Kevin de Bruyne, according to a report.
Since then, he has taken his game to another level. Grealish has been at the epicentre of a terrific start to the season for Villa, scoring four times and assisting six in just eight Premier League appearances, forcing his way into Gareth Southgate's England plans.
The Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Everton on Sunday is poised to be postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the Villans camp
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Aston Villa have asked the Premier League for Sunday's Premier League match against Everton to be postponed amid a coronavirus outbreak in their squad
Manchester City are interested in signing Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli this summer, but face competition from both Juventus and Milan.
Other targets are said to have been discussed, but Grealish is seen as affordable and comes with a strong recommendation from De Bruyne, who spoke glowingly of the 25-year-old before England's Nations League clash with Belgium earlier this month.
"I rate him very highly," De Bruyne admitted. "He’s somebody I mentioned before, talking to the teammates at City, in a random conversation.
"In England they talked about creative problems in midfield, but he brings that to a team. He deserves a shot."
That respect, it seems, is mutual. Speaking after that match, where he announced his arrival on the international stage with a strong performance, Grealish name-checked De Bruyne as an inspiration for his style of play.
“The last 24 hours I’ve been watching clips of my favourite players, which I always do, and I’ve been buzzing, wanting it to start," Grealish told Sky Sports. “I watched loads of clips of De Bruyne, Coutinho, loads of people who are in my position. I did it as a little kid and I still do it today and that’s what gets me going for football matches."