Manchester City completed the £100million deal to sign England international Jack Grealish on Thursday despite Aston Villa’s attempts to drum up interest from elsewhere
Jack Grealish finally got his wish on Thursday, with a dream move to Manchester City confirming his status as the most expensive British player of all-time.
The Premier League champions made their first summer signing after agreeing to pay a club-record £100million fee to bring in the England international.
But details have since emerged which suggest the deal was far from a simple transaction.
Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow explained in great detail why the club had sold their captain to the Premier League champions with a five-minute video that followed the transfer announcement.
Purslow confirmed that when Grealish had signed his new contract last year to make him the club’s highest-paid player, he wanted a release clause inserted into the deal.
That was based on the assumption that if a Champions League club came calling, he would be allowed to leave for £100m.
It was not an instant process, though. Four days after Man City had lodged their record-breaking move to sign Grealish, Villa had still not responded to their offer.
And according to The Athletic, the Midlands outfit had delayed the move for as long as possible in an attempt to spark a bidding war.
That meant Grealish was still their player and, as part of his contractual obligations, the 25-year-old went out to train with the club at their pre-season base in west London on Monday.
It is even claimed that the Premier League club entered dialogue with Manchester United and Real Madrid to explore whether they would be interested in signing Grealish.
Man United were thought to have made Grealish their top target in the summer of 2020 after starring in Villa’s first season back in the Premier League.
But the Red Devils baulked at the £70m asking price from the Villains on that occasion and signed Donny van de Beek from Ajax for half the price in October 2020.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had hinted the club had not ruled out making more signings following the acquisitions of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.
And the opportunity to get one up on their city rivals would have surely been too hard to pass up if Grealish had shown any interest in heading to Old Trafford.
But when the players’ representatives caught wind of what was happening the background, the report claims they made it abundantly clear that Grealish was only interested in joining Pep Guardiola’s side.
Despite their attempts to drum up the asking price, Villa had no choice on whether to accept the bid due to the release clause in the contract with Grealish.
And once the bid was accepted, the midfielder underwent his medical and sealed the switch to the Etihad Stadium.
Grealish, who signed a six-year deal with the club, spoke of his happiness at sealing the move after leaving the club where he had spent 20 years.
“I am incredibly happy to have joined Manchester City,” Grealish told the club’s official website.
“City are the best team in the country with a manager considered to be the best in the world – it’s a dream come true to be part of this club.
“Over the past 10 seasons, they have won major trophies consistently. Pep coming here has taken them to the next level and the football this team plays is the most exciting in Europe.
“To play for Pep and learn from him is going to be special and it’s something any top footballer would want.
“The facilities are amazing, and I honestly can’t wait to get started, meet everyone and get playing.”