Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce has admitted that Tottenham Hotspur could have signed Jack Grealish this summer had they moved more quickly in the transfer market.
Spurs were linked with the 22-year-old throughout the window but decided to bide their time in a bid to drive the price down due to Villa's perilous financial situation.
However, investment in the Championship outfit reduced their need to sell their star players, and Bruce has now confirmed that the club are in talks with Grealish over a new contract having turned down a late £30m approach from Spurs.
"It's fair to say we were in such a bad position financially that if Tottenham had have done their work early, then I'm sure he would have been a Tottenham player. Before the takeover came in, everyone was for sale – that's how difficult the situation was," Bruce told talkSPORT.
"There was a time where I thought we were going to lose Jonathan Kodjia, lose Jack Grealish, lose James Chester, all the players who were obviously going to attract big money, but thankfully we've managed to hold onto them.
"Jack will certainly will be in line for a new deal. The new owners have said that and I think they want to make a statement on it. He's arguably the best young player I've had in terms of ability. He can do something where he can lift you off your seat, he's such a natural footballer and of course he's grown up a bit. For me, he's going to be a top, top player. And with the new owners, hopefully we'll bring in three or five within the next few weeks."
Villa have made a 100% start to the new season with three wins from three games across all competitions.