Scout explains failed plan to sign ‘outstanding’ Aston Villa star
Danilo Pagni has explained to TuttoMercatoWEB how he once suggested AC Milan should sign Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish.
Pagni joined the Rossoneri as one of the Serie A side’s international scouts in 2017. He was tasked with discovering superstars before their breakthroughs and their values skyrocketing.
Grealish and his England teammate Mason Mount were two players Pagni spotted while working for Milan. But the San Siro hierarchy did not share his belief in their potential at the time and passed on them.
Mount was on loan at Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem from Chelsea at the time of Pagni reporting his recommendation. The 22-year-old spent one season at the Eredivisie outfit before a temporary spell with Derby County.
Stan Collymore now backs Mount to be the backbone to Gareth Southgate’s England squad at Euro 2020. Grealish should also feature prominently, given the Three Lions boss previously called the Aston Villa talisman ‘outstanding’ (Sky Sports).
Both could have been the stars of the Serie A had events played out differently. Instead, they have become pivotal pieces at two Premier League clubs and for their country.
“I wanted Grealish, who was at Aston Villa, and Mount at Vitesse, now nationals and protagonists with England, at Milan,” Pagni said. “Scouting is this: Understanding values when they are unexpressed, not valued.”
TBR’s view: Grealish would not have left Aston Villa
While Pagni believed in Grealish early on, a move to AC Milan from Aston Villa would have been unlikely. Tottenham Hotspur already wanted the then £20million-rated Englishman (Mirror) by the end of his first year scouting for the Serie A side.
Aston Villa were well aware of the player Grealish was becoming, too, and would not have let him go cheaply. So, the price needed to sign the then-22-year-old likely brought about the end to Milan’s interest. That is, if they shared Pagni’s belief at all.
Milan rejecting Pagni’s advice and opting against testing Villa’s resolve has ultimately proven great for the West Midlands outfit. They now value Grealish at £100m (Telegraph) and have an England star in their ranks that makes the team tick.
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