Jack Grealish is one of the most exciting players in the Premier League and has been since Aston Villa returned to the top flight. Of course, that’s no surprise to supporters of the Birmingham club who have seen the footballer, and Villa fan, grow through the academy and into the first team.

Now also getting recognition at international level, after a wait for England which probably lasted too long, Grealish is picking up plaudits around the European sport media.

Things may have been very different if AC Milan had listened carefully enough to Danilo Pagni, who has worked as a talent spotter for the Rossoneri. Speaking to Calciomercato, the Italian was asked about regrets, and listed some players he’d liked to have seen in Serie A football.

Then, without prompt, he said none of those were his ‘biggest regret’.

When pressed further on what that is, Pagni responded: “Grealish, midfielder born in ’95 of Aston Villa, I had seen some of his games in the Championship and I fell in love with him. He was playing with his socks lowered in the style of the ’60s; I write a message to the management saying that I think he should be taken. Two years later he exploded.”

Whether Grealish would have dumped his boyhood club for AC Milan is unknown but it surely would have been a temptation. Milan will now likely wish they’d listened to Pagni more intently, with the Aston Villa star now possibly out of their financial reach.