Man City sign £100m Grealish from Villa

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August 6, 2021
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    Jack Grealish in a Man City shirtJack Grealish's move to Manchester City makes him the ninth-most expensive player in history

    Manchester City have signed England midfielder Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for a British record £100m.

    The 25-year-old joins the Premier League champions on a six-year contract and will wear the number 10 shirt recently vacated by Sergio Aguero.

    The fee surpasses the £89m Manchester United paid to re-sign midfielder Paul Pogba from Juventus in 2016.

    "City are the best team in the country with a manager considered to be the best in the world," said Grealish.

    "It's a dream come true to be part of this club."

    The move makes Grealish the ninth most expensive footballer in history.

    He could make his debut for Pep Guardiola's side in Saturday's Community Shield against Leicester City at Wembley.

    • Villa 'hoped' Grealish £100m release clause would never be met
    • Where does Grealish fit in at Man City?
    • Quiz: Name the past 13 players to go for a British transfer record

    A boyhood Villa fan, Grealish joined the club aged six and made 213 appearances in all competitions, scoring 32 goals.

    He said: "It was obviously a difficult few months because I have been an Aston Villa fan for my whole life, but when I spoke to the manager here and you see what type of players they have got here, in the end it was something I couldn't say no to.

    "Competing for major trophies is something that I wanted to do. It was something I couldn't turn down.

    "Playing in the Champions League was a massive thing for me, I haven't done that yet. When I was sitting there on a Tuesday or Wednesday night last year it was just what I wanted to do. To be able to do it with this club is going to be a dream.

    "I had a long chat with [Pep Guardiola] about positions and stuff like that, all football. It was such a positive chat and shows why I want to play under him.

    "The way this team is set up to play suits me down to a tee, the way the manager likes to play suits me."

    • How would you get Grealish in the team? Pick your Man City XI
    • Listen: The Football Daily Podcast breaks down Grealish's move to Man City

    City director of football Txiki Begiristain said: "Jack's development over the past few seasons both for club and country has been plain for everybody to see.

    "His natural talent together with his commitment to improve as a player has seen him become one of the most exciting attacking players in world football today."

    Grealish and Man City attackers compared
    Grealish Sterling Foden Mahrez Silva De Bruyne
    Games played 26 31 28 27 26 25
    Goals 6 10 9 9 2 6
    Assists 10 7 5 6 6 12
    Chances created 81 39 36 44 27 80
    Dribbles completed 65 66 38 45 41 48
    Fouls won 110 41 34 30 18 31

    In an address to supporters explaining the reasons behind Grealish's sale, Villa chief executive Christian Purslow revealed there was a £100m release clause in the five-year deal he signed last summer.

    "Jack wanted to be certain if at any point a Champions League club came in for him and Aston Villa were not in the competition we would not stand in his way," said Purslow.

    "For that reason, we agreed to incorporate a so-called release clause. We set the value at a level we hope would not be met, but reflected his true value to Villa."Manchester City said they would be willing to pay £100m to trigger the clause.

    "It was a highly emotional moment when Jack finally told me his decision, leaving me in no doubt how hard it had been for him to decide to leave."

    World's top-five transfer fees

    Neymar [Barcelona – Paris St-Germain] £200m in 2017

    Kylian Mbappe [Monaco – Paris St-Germain] £166m in 2017

    Philippe Coutinho [Liverpool – Barcelona] £142m in 2018

    Ousmane Dembele [Borussia Dortmund – Barcelona] total fee of £135m in 2017

    Joao Felix [Benfica – Atletico Madrid] £113m in 2019

    The rise of Grealish

    Jack Grealish on his Villa debutJack Grealish made his Aston Villa debut as an 88th-minute substitute against Manchester City at Etihad Stadium in 2014

    After progressing through the Villa youth set-up, Grealish went on loan to Notts County, then in League One, in 2013 to gain senior experience.

    He made his Villa debut in a 4-0 defeat by City in May 2014 and made 17 Premier League appearances during the 2014-15 season as Villa finished one place above the relegation zone.

    During the following season, he scored his first top-flight goal against Leicester City in September 2015 and made 16 league appearances as Villa finished bottom and were relegated to the Championship.

    Villa spent three seasons in the Championship before Grealish helped them regain their Premier League status with a play-off final win against Derby County.

    He made 36 Premier League appearances during 2019-20 and scored eight goals, including one in the 1-1 draw against West Ham United which secured Villa's top-flight survival on the final day of a season interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

    A Republic of Ireland Under-21 international, Grealish announced in 2015 that he wanted to represent England. Having switched to their Under-21 side, he made his senior England debut in a goalless draw against Denmark in September 2020.

    Jack Grealish's stats for Aston Villa during the 2020-21 Premier League seasonJack Grealish's stats for Aston Villa during the 2020-21 Premier League season

    Last season, Grealish scored six goals in 26 Premier League appearances, including two in a 7-2 win over Liverpool, as Villa finished 11th.

    He spent three months out injured from mid-February to mid-May but his return just before the end of the campaign saw him selected in England manager Gareth Southgate's squad for Euro 2020.

    Grealish impressed in warm-up wins against Austria and Romania and made one start and four substitute appearances, registering two assists, for England during the tournament.

    (Premier League 2020-21 season) Aston Villa with Grealish Aston Villa without Grealish
    Games 26 12
    Win % 50% 25%
    Goals for 42 13
    Goals against 29 17
    Points per game 1.7 1.0

    'Book-balancing exercise' helping to fund Grealish deal

    Analysis by BBC Sport's Simon Stone

    READ:  'Scotland have 24% World Cup chance

    For all the nudges about Manchester City's spending and the questions about how the club manages to do deals like this one without falling foul of profit and sustainability rules, it is worth noting they are now responsible for the biggest single purchase by an English club during their Abu Dhabi ownership for only the second time.

    The first occasion was that never-to-be-forgotten night in 2008 when Sheikh Mansour went on an elaborate sweep of available players to prove he was a man to be taken seriously and spent £50m on Brazil striker Robinho.

    In the same period, Manchester United have held the record seven times. It is United's £89m purchase of Paul Pogba in 2016 that the Grealish deal has overtaken.

    Of City's 'big six' rivals, only Tottenham have not invested a significant sum in an individual player during the pandemic – although United and Chelsea are the only clubs that can truly be argued to have spent such high sums so consistently over so many seasons.

    There is a book-balancing exercise going on as well.

    Including Leroy Sane's exit for Bayern Munich last summer and the £11m they received as a sell-on payment from Borussia Dortmund's sale of Jadon Sancho to Manchester United, City sources argue the club has already raised £109.5m over the past 12 months – with – potentially – another £55m to come through sales of younger players.

    This does not include the exit of high-earning Sergio Aguero to Barcelona, nor the potential sales of bigger names before the transfer window closes, the most likely of which is Bernardo Silva, who wants to move to Spain.

    On the basis that some clubs will always have more money than others, some may wonder why this is important anyway.

    However, given their recent skirmish with Uefa over Financial Fair Play, it is understandable why City are sensitive when it comes to their finances.

    Evidently though, the club is in a different place to 20 years ago, when they were trying to re-invent themselves under Kevin Keegan. Back then their idea of a big name was Eyal Berkovic, who joined them from Celtic for £1.5m.

    Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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    2688 commentsShowLatestOldestHighest RatedMost Replied

    • R

      Comment posted by Rob Hughes, at 20:06 5 Aug

      Just add Kane for £120M and that’s nearly a quarter of a billion pounds on 2 players after 18 months of no income from fans. FFP working beautifully again I see! Shocking.905120

      • J

        Reply posted by jacdimond , at 20:09 5 Aug

        "Just add Kane for £120M and that’s nearly a quarter of a billion pounds on 2 players after 18 months of no income from fans. FFP working beautifully again I see! Shocking."jacdimond replied: That’s what I don’t understand about FFP. They never really stop this stuff from happening31732

      More replies (120)

    • C

      Comment posted by Commentier, at 20:05 5 Aug

      Paving the way for Messi to return to his boyhood club Aston Villa.59814

      • J

        Reply posted by JUAN_KERR, at 20:25 5 Aug

        "Paving the way for Messi to return to his boyhood club Aston Villa."JUAN_KERR replied: Literally the worst possible timing for the signing to be completed lol. Tho really I think its more likely to affect kanes transfer than grealish, cos grealish would play with messi and sterling, kane would be like an anchor.4617

      More replies (8)

    • W

      Comment posted by Wee Brian, at 20:04 5 Aug

      Grealish said “It’s a dream come true to triple my salary”.58154

      • C

        Reply posted by Candy Kanes, at 20:05 5 Aug

        "Grealish said “It’s a dream come true to triple my salary”."Candy Kanes replied: 🤣547

      More replies (49)

    • J

      Comment posted by James George, at 20:07 5 Aug

      Thanks Jack – AVFC.. Best of luck for the future.53263

      • G

        Reply posted by Gandalf, at 20:25 5 Aug

        "Thanks Jack – AVFC.. Best of luck for the future."Gandalf replied: This should be the top-rated comment here given what he’s done at the club.14850

      More replies (25)

    • G

      Comment posted by Gayle Platt, at 20:05 5 Aug

      I try not to look at it as £100million and try to think of it as 2 and a half Joelintons and think “yeah, that’s not bad business”34111

      • D

        Reply posted by David Windsor, at 20:24 5 Aug

        "I try not to look at it as £100million and try to think of it as 2 and a half Joelintons and think “yeah, that’s not bad business”"David Windsor replied: Good point. Think he might be worth at least 10 Joelintons. Is a Joelinton football’s Craptocurrency?1477

      More replies (11)

    • T

      Comment posted by Tim Mac, at 20:04 5 Aug

      Stark raving bonkers…..where does financial fair play come into this…..35850

      • M

        Reply posted by Markt66 , at 20:09 5 Aug

        "Stark raving bonkers…..where does financial fair play come into this….."Markt66 replied: Ask Man Utd, they seem to have managed it for years309120

      More replies (77)

    • P

      Comment posted by pj, at 20:05 5 Aug

      Shame Gareth Southgate didn’t rate Grealish as highly – we might have won the Euros if he did.428123

      • J

        Reply posted by JT of Worcestershire, at 20:11 5 Aug

        "Shame Gareth Southgate didn’t rate Grealish as highly – we might have won the Euros if he did."JT of Worcestershire replied: Totally agree PJ…….13630

      More replies (32)

    • D

      Comment posted by Dex, at 20:09 5 Aug

      Absolutely disgusting amount of money.
      What a joke that they can monopolise football by buying up all the talent.
      To think Bury went out of business for the sake of a few quid.
      Man City should hang their heads in shame.
      What happened to financial fair play.
      City are obviously exempt from it!!!!29554

      • F

        Reply posted by Forza Italia, at 21:30 5 Aug

        "Absolutely disgusting amount of money.What a joke that they can monopolise football by buying up all the talent.To think Bury went out of business for the sake of a few quid.Man City should hang their heads in shame.What happened to financial fair play.City are obviously exempt from it!!!!"Forza Italia replied: City were going to spend the money on Fleetwood Mac, but decided they’d rather Jack.408

      More replies (12)

    • G

      Comment posted by gaz, at 20:05 5 Aug

      Precisely why the Premier League is dead. RIP football.29569

      • C

        Reply posted by choc, at 20:12 5 Aug

        "Precisely why the Premier League is dead. RIP football."choc replied: It’s always been this way7931

      More replies (26)

    • D

      Comment posted by Darren, at 20:02 5 Aug

      100 million. Pounds. It’s a touch perverse really.23619

      • F

        Reply posted by fatClyde, at 20:08 5 Aug

        "100 million. Pounds. It’s a touch perverse really."fatClyde replied: Unless it’s your team buying the best, eh ?61137

      More replies (19)

    • F

      Comment posted by FFCForever, at 20:06 5 Aug

      The oil money continues to spread far and wide.23541

      • N

        Reply posted by normanneil01, at 20:09 5 Aug

        "The oil money continues to spread far and wide."normanneil01 replied: Tesla United will topple them in 10 years8025

      More replies (19)

    • P

      Comment posted by Psychobabble, at 20:18 5 Aug

      Jack Grealish September 2020 “I am delighted to make this commitment to Villa. It is my club, my home and I am very happy here. The owners have made it very clear to me how ambitious they are and how they want to build Aston Villa. There are exciting times ahead and I am very glad to be part of it.”

      I’m not overlly convinced he was telling the truth………20317

      • B

        Reply posted by Buckscanary, at 20:36 5 Aug

        "Jack Grealish September 2020 “I am delighted to make this commitment to Villa. It is my club, my home and I am very happy here. The owners have made it very clear to me how ambitious they are and how they want to build Aston Villa. There are exciting times ahead and I am very glad to be part of it.”I’m not overlly convinced he was telling the truth………"Buckscanary replied: He needs a big club to bring him on as a player.
        Villa are lucky to still be in existence financially.3696

      More replies (17)

    • T

      Comment posted by Tiddlywinks, at 20:04 5 Aug

      That’s over £900m & counting Fraudiola has spent in only 5 years. 3 leagues, only 1 FA cup and a few tea cups.
      The guys actually underachieved! Should be on at least 2 more FA cups, 1 league title and at least 1 champions league(the trophy he was brought in to win) by now.

      It’s only the 26 City ‘fans’ who rate him as a good manager. He’s nothing more than a cheque book manager.332151

      • T

        Reply posted by Tiddlywinks, at 20:05 5 Aug

        "That’s over £900m & counting Fraudiola has spent in only 5 years. 3 leagues, only 1 FA cup and a few tea cups.The guys actually underachieved! Should be on at least 2 more FA cups, 1 league title and at least 1 champions league(the trophy he was brought in to win) by now.It’s only the 26 City ‘fans’ who rate him as a good manager. He’s nothing more than a cheque book manager."Tiddlywinks replied: He inherited a great Barca squad any manager would have won trophies with, took over a dominant Bayern who have no challengers for the German league then took over the unlimited funds small club from Manchester. Peps a fraud.25590

      More replies (43)

    • K

      Comment posted by kloppo, at 20:05 5 Aug

      Let’s see you dives more Sterling or Grealish …..worth a bet18729

      • T

        Reply posted by Tiddlywinks, at 20:21 5 Aug

        "Let’s see you dives more Sterling or Grealish …..worth a bet"Tiddlywinks replied: Add Kane to that if he joins too1008

      More replies (18)

    • K

      Comment posted by Kenny Morris, at 20:14 5 Aug

      I wonder what the City fans of the Division one ( third division) days think of all this ,they were against this sort of obscene spending .It just seems wrong to me .Football has changed ,not for the better.16517

      • C

        Reply posted by Celts, at 20:34 5 Aug

        "I wonder what the City fans of the Division one ( third division) days think of all this ,they were against this sort of obscene spending .It just seems wrong to me .Football has changed ,not for the better."Celts replied: Messi – 38 goals last season
        Grealish – 7 goals last season

        Messi – £0
        Greaslish – £100,000,000

        Yeah, City have totally made the right decision there……..11333

      More replies (30)

    • N

      Comment posted by Next slide please, at 20:06 5 Aug

      £100m.

      The madness continues.13417

      • N

        Reply posted by NHSBeany, at 20:21 5 Aug

        "£100m.The madness continues."NHSBeany replied: It’s all relative. £80m for Pogba 4 years ago, same again for Maguire 2 years ago, add a bit for PL inflation and you get to £100m easily. Also, City have sold £50m+ of players in the close season, most of whom we don’t know. If you don’t like it, don’t buy the Sky subscription!11340

      More replies (9)

    • M

      Comment posted by madmarvel, at 20:07 5 Aug

      Fair play to Villa to get that much for Jack. No doubting his talent, but will not play every game and his not consistent enough to warrant that sort of money9516

      • I

        Reply posted by Irons45, at 20:11 5 Aug

        "Fair play to Villa to get that much for Jack. No doubting his talent, but will not play every game and his not consistent enough to warrant that sort of money"Irons45 replied: Here we go everyone was calling for southgate to play him and now he suddenly not that good.

        Pathetic6735

      More replies (9)

    • A

      Comment posted by abracadabra, at 20:09 5 Aug

      Despite the recent prices I would still say anything above 50m for any player is insane.

      A city fan; not happy to break these records.

      Don’t want Kane, don’t want Messi if he is to be paid above the current players.

      Also if we are to sell Bernardo to make up for Grealish that is stupid. Silva is better than gold.7310

      • G

        Reply posted by gerrard4ever, at 20:32 5 Aug

        "Despite the recent prices I would still say anything above 50m for any player is insane.A city fan; not happy to break these records. Don’t want Kane, don’t want Messi if he is to be paid above the current players.Also if we are to sell Bernardo to make up for Grealish that is stupid. Silva is better than gold."gerrard4ever replied: Gareth Bale left spurs for Madrid for 86 million I believe years ago. So with the huge money increase in football since then suppose 100 million is only to be expected. Even thou I totally agree it’s madness. But Spain paying wages such as 600.000 per wk to Bale who hasn’t even been in there starting 11 for over a year. Now that’s a disgrace. And what Messi was on in his last contract.497

      More replies (9)

    • N

      Comment posted by Navers, at 20:06 5 Aug

      This one bemuses me. Where is he going to play though? Sterling, Mahrez, Foden (Pep’s supposed English superstar), Silva all potentially ahead of him? Then if you want to go deeper, you ain’t displacing Gundogan or De Bruyne!666

      • G

        Reply posted by gnash96, at 20:09 5 Aug

        "This one bemuses me. Where is he going to play though? Sterling, Mahrez, Foden (Pep’s supposed English superstar), Silva all potentially ahead of him? Then if you want to go deeper, you ain’t displacing Gundogan or De Bruyne!"gnash96 replied: He’s going to play on the bench1156

      More replies (22)

    • T

      Comment posted by Tom Law, at 20:10 5 Aug

      I guess Sheikh Mansour didn’t refresh the BBC Sport home page. He could have signed Messi instead.614

      • B

        Reply posted by bluesfollower, at 22:21 5 Aug

        "I guess Sheikh Mansour didn’t refresh the BBC Sport home page. He could have signed Messi instead."bluesfollower replied: I suspect Messi’s wage demands would have been a tad higher than Grealish’s100

      More replies (2)

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