Dean Smith feels Jack Grealish’s commitment can encourage recruitment

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith believes Jack Grealish’s decision to sign a new long-term contract will help make the club a more attractive proposition for potential transfer targets.

Villa announced on Tuesday that their captain had signed a new five-year deal, ending speculation over his future.

Manchester United had long been linked with a move for Grealish but talk of a move to Old Trafford, or anywhere else, have been firmly put to bed with the 25-year-old’s new deal.

Smith described securing the future of his talisman a “massive statement of intent” and he believes it will help Villa in the transfer market.

The club announced the signing of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez in a reported £20million deal from Arsenal on Wednesday while Smith is also looking to bring Lyon forward Bertrand Traore to Villa Park.

“We have two players through the door before Jack signed his new deal in Matty Cash and Ollie Watkins,” said Smith.

“When I was having talks with them they both asked if Jack was staying and we told them we were hopeful he would.

“Jack is a big pull for any player that wants to come to Aston Villa because of what he did last season.

“I just think it is a massive statement of intent from the owners and what they want to achieve at the club.”

Asked about Traore, Smith replied: “I don’t know. Again, we are looking to bring players in and until they get over the line and become Aston Villa players then, respectfully, I am unable to speak about them.”

Smith’s side were made to work hard against Burton in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night, only ensuring their progress to the third round through Grealish’s superb 88th-minute volley and Keinan Davis’ injury-time finish.

After the 3-1 success at the Pirelli Stadium, Smith set his sights on repeating last season’s run to the final.

He said: “We had a really good run in the competition last year getting to the final and we want to do that again.”

Burton defender Michael Bostwick had to come off with a calf injury against Villa and Brewers boss Jake Buxton is worried about his threadbare squad ahead of their League One game on Saturday.

“We lost Neal Eardley at the weekend and we have now lost Michael,” said Buxton. “It was Ryan Edwards’ first start and he had to come off or run the risk of injury, so we are disappointed to lose the bodies as Accrington on Saturday is a big game for us.

“We will be really thin for players. We looked fine but a couple of Saturday-Tuesdays and we look thin with only 13 senior players available.”

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