Manchester City have completed the $140 million signing of Jack Grealish from Aston Villa. The England international has signed a six-year contract at the Etihad Stadium having agreed a move that makes him the most expensive signing ever made by any Premier League club.
Villa chief executive Christian Purslow confirmed that City had activated the release clause -- set at £100 million when he signed his most recent contract -- to end Grealish's time with his boyhood club. The 25-year-old acknowledged it had not been an easy decision to leave but the lure of silverware in Pep Guardiola's side convinced him to make the move.
"It was obviously a difficult few months because I have been an Aston Villa fan for my whole life," Grealish said. "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. I am absolutely delighted to be here."
He added: "There are obviously a lot of reasons why I decided to come here. The manager has been a massive factor; playing under the best manager in the world was something I couldn't really turn down, (and) obviously the players that we have got here.
"Competing for major trophies is something that I wanted to do. It was something I couldn't turn down. Let's hope it is a successful one."
Grealish will wear the No. 10 shirt at Manchester City, previously worn by their record scorer Sergio Aguero. The £100 million fee eclipses the previous record of £89.3 million, set in 2016 when Manchester United signed Paul Pogba from Juventus.
Since Villa's promotion to the Premier League in 2019-20 Grealish has established himself as one of the English game's shining lights with a remarkable ability to beat opponents or draw fouls from them. Last season the playmaker scored six goals and provided 10 assists, earning a spot in England's Euro 2020 squad and the love of neutral fans across the league.
"Jack's development over the past few seasons both for club and country has been plain for everybody to see," said City director of football Txiki Begiristain. "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 the fans are going to love seeing him in our team. Pep loves the way he plays, 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."
Villa have already made moves to rebuild their team post-Grealish and have signed Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings this summer. They also hold interest in Southampton midfielder James Ward Prowse and have been linked with a move for Todd Cantwell of Norwich City.
In a farewell letter to his fellow Villa supporters Grealish said: "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. 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 are 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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