Jack Grealish has finalised his move to Manchester City on a six-year deal believed to be worth a record-breaking £100million.
The former Aston Villa captain completed his medical on Thursday morning before officially being announced as the most expensive player in British history.
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At a glance: 5 key points
- - Grealish’s move to Man City makes him the most expensive British player in history. The record was previously held by Gareth Bale (£85m to Real Madrid).
- - The fee also breaks the all-time British transfer record, previously held by Paul Pogba (£89m to Manchester United).
- - Grealish had signed a new long-term contract with Aston Villa in 2020 but has now been prised out of it less than a year later.
- - The 25-year-old says he “couldn’t really turn down” the opportunity of working under manager Pep Guardiola.
- - His exit brings to an end a 19-year stay with boyhood club Villa.
What’s been said?
Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain said: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to welcome Jack Grealish to Manchester City. He is an incredible talent.
“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.
“I am certain that fans are going to love seeing him in our team. Pep loves the way he play and we all feel he is an ideal fit for Manchester City.
“Our style and his style are a perfect match. I’m excited to watch him over the coming years.”
Aston Villa Chief Executive Christian Purslow said: “It was a highly emotional moment when he finally told me his decision, leaving me in no doubt how hard it had been for him to leave our club, which he had joined when he was six years old.
“Ultimately he said it boiled down to wanting to play Champions League football now.”
Grealish himself said: “I am incredibly happy to have joined Manchester City. 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.”
Grealish has been with boyhood club Villa since 2001, where he joined at the age of 6 from Solihull-based Highgate United.
Aside from a year-long loan spell at Notts County, the midfielder has been an ever-present in the Villa first team since 2013.
Grealish finishes his career in the west-midlands having made 213 appearances, scoring 32 goals and providing 43 assists.
In a heartfelt statement posted via Grealish’s social media platforms, the midfielder said his goodbyes to the fans that have treated him so well over the years.
He said: “I’ve been at Aston Villa for 19 years and I’ve been a fan my whole life. I’ve come up through the ranks and captained my club back to the top tier of English football.
“It's impossible to put my feelings into words, but I’ll try.
“When I first came to Vila, I had my own personal dreams and ambitions like getting into the first team, scoring my first goal and scoring the winner in a derby. It wasn’t until we got relegated that I felt a greater sense of purpose.
“Every time I put on the Villa shirt I played with my heart on my sleeve. Being given the armband was both a privilege and an honour for me and my family and I’ve loved every minute of it.
“I want to thank the manager and my teammates, I’ll never forget everything we achieved together.
“And to the fans who have supported me through everything, I can’t thank you enough.
“To all my coaches and all the people who work at the club behind the scenes who have done so much for me over the years - thank you.
“I’ll always be a Villa fan - I love this club with all my heart and I hope you understand my reasons for seeking a new challenge.
“The club is in great hands, the manager, the lads, the new signings coming in - it’s an exciting time to be a Villa fan.
“I’ll see you all again soon. Until next time. UTV. Jack.”
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