James Chester has committed his future to Aston Villa but says team-mate Jack
Grealish should not be criticised if he leaves for the Premier League.
England U21 forward Grealish has been a long-time Tottenham target and the 22-year-old could yet seal a move to north London before next week’s Deadline Day.
“I think Jack is the most talented player at the club and deserves to be playing at the very top of the game,” Chester said.
“People forget he is still very young, but we know Villa will be a real threat to anyone in the division if he stays.
“It would be sad to see him go and I don’t know if he will now that the ownership of the club has changed.
“But I don’t think anyone should hold it against him if he ends up going to a top Premier League club.”
The future of Wales international Chester was in doubt this summer as Villa’s financial plight became evident following their defeat by Fulham in May’s Sky Bet Championship play-off final.
Villa rejected a bid from Stoke earlier this month for the central defender, who impressed last season alongside former England captain John Terry.
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Businessmen Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens have since bought a 55 per cent stake from former owner Tony Xia, and Chester insists his future lies at Villa Park.
“I was aware there was interest [from Stoke],” said Chester, speaking at the launch of McDonald’s UK’s new football sponsorship programme in Finchley.
“People obviously knew there was a problem at Villa and it was inevitable that players would have to leave unless new owners could be found.
“But I certainly did not want to leave. I have loved my time here and I wanted it to continue.
“Nothing was accepted and I never had to make a decision about whether my time at Villa was over.”
Villa begin their Championship campaign on Monday night at Chester’s former club Hull, live on Sky, with manager Steve Bruce having been given the full support of the new owners.
“It’s wonderful that the manager is staying,” Chester said.
“There’s not many people better qualified than him to be in charge of such a big club as Aston Villa.”