Jack Grealish has completed a medical at Manchester City ahead of his proposed £100m transfer from Aston Villa.
City submitted their offer on Friday and it activated a £100m release clause in Grealish’s Villa contract.
The move would represent the biggest transfer in English football history, breaking the previous record held by Paul Pogba who rejoined Manchester United for £93.25m from Juventus in 2016.
Grealish, who was given an extended break after playing for England at Euro 2020, has been training with his Villa team-mates in London all week and was once again with the group on Wednesday.
It has been very difficult for 25-year-old Grealish to decide if he wants to leave the club he has supported all his life and has been a part of for 19 years. He was absolutely torn about the decision.
Grealish’s decision has been accepted by the management and players at Villa, who wish him well for the future and hold no bitterness over his departure. They hope the fans share that same understanding and that Grealish’s legacy at the club will remain intact.
Villa feel they are probably two or three years away from where they would need to be in their project to convince Grealish to stay.
But they feel his departure may actually end up accelerating that process.
Villa did offer Grealish a new and improved contract earlier this summer, despite him signing a five-year deal last September.
Grealish is a Villa academy graduate and has made over 200 appearances for the club, scoring 32 goals.
Villa are expected to formalize their interest in Norwich City attacking midfielder Todd Cantwell once Grealish’s move to City is finalised.
As yet, there has been no official contact, but Norwich are aware of Villa’s interest.
With less than two weeks to go until the start of the season, Norwich do not want to lose Cantwell, and it would take a significant bid for them to even consider letting him go.
Norwich have a good relationship with Villa after they negotiated the sale of Emiliano Buendia in June.
Cantwell has entered the final year of his contract, and Norwich have the option to extend it by a further year.
Grealish’s X-factor and his special appeal
Sky Sports’ Peter Smith…
“Aston Villa supporters have been hailing him for years, celebrating a special talent which had emerged from their youth ranks. It took some time for fans of other clubs to get on board but Jack Grealish and his X-factor has won over all the judges now. At Euro 2020, the sound of England supporters cheering his warm-ups and chanting his name, urging Gareth Southgate to throw him into the action, was the perfect illustration of that.
“He appeared for just 137 minutes at that tournament but he was a major story throughout. His two assists and cameos off the bench were a tantalizing glimpse of what England had in the locker and drove the conversation about how they should attack.
“It is that enticing, exciting, game-changing potential which makes him such hot property.
“Inside Wembley this summer, the change in approach from opposition defenders when he came into the game was clear to see. They dropped deeper. They doubled up. They looked nervous and wary of what might come next. It’s a growing trend we’ve Seen in the Premier League and Grealish’s skill, Grealish’s reputation has now earned international respect, too.
“That possibility of what Grealish could do at the top end of the Premier League or in the Champions League is clearly a question being pondered at Manchester City. The great Pep Guardiola attracted by the potential of greatness from Grealish.”
The view from Villa: You wouldn’t blame Grealish
Sky Sports’ Gerard Brand…
“Of course, if Villa are to lose Grealish, the impact will be felt. The three months without him last season were a worrying case study: Villa won just 21 per cent of their games without, and won 54 per cent with their skipper.
“But Villa’s glass should remain half full. In NSWE, they have owners clearly willing to make heavy yet sound investments and will have undoubtedly planned for Grealish’s potential exit – the £38m signing of Emi Buendia and interest in Leon Bailey, linked with the Premier League’s elite over the past 18 months, are evidence of that. That should go some way to plugging the creativity gap.
“And although he ended up signing a new deal with Arsenal, the attempt to capture Emile Smith Rowe was still a great show of ambition, given Villa rarely sign assets from big Premier League rivals.
“Villas aren’t new to this. The so-called top six have come calling for their best regularly over the past decade, but unlike when Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph were taken away in 2015, the Villa Grealish might be leaving behind is a strong one. Villa are in the best place they have been since 2010, and the 25-year-old still has a big decision to make.
“At Man City, he is guaranteed trophies, and those questioning how much playing time he will get should remember Pep Guardiola hands out minutes like no other manager in the Premier League. City made 136 changes last season, more than any Premier League side; it’s clear Guardiola doesn’t necessarily need a set XI for success, especially with around 60 games a season to play.
“And those arguing that a trophy with his boyhood club would be sweeter than anything he could achieve at City should remember Villa’s trophy cabinet hasn’t been opened since Grealish was six months old.
“While Villa are on the up, and a City move undoubtedly brings risks, you wouldn’t blame Grealish for backing himself as he approaches his peak years.”
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