Jack Grealish has become the most expensive Premier League footballer after completing his move from Aston Villa to Manchester City for £100m.
The England midfielder’s move comes after City submitted their offer on Friday and activated a £100m release clause in his Villa contract.
The Grealish deal breaks the previous transfer fee record held by French midfielder Paul Pogba, who rejoined Manchester United for £93.25m from Juventus in 2016.
Grealish, 25, shot to prominence in the past year and capped off an impressive season with some key contributions for the England national team, helping them get to the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.
He said: “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.”
He said it was “a difficult few months” leading up to the decision.
“I’ve obviously been an Aston Villa fan my whole life,” he said. “But you know, when I spoke to the manager here and you see what type of players you’ve got here in the end you know it was something that I couldn’t say no to.”
The athlete said Pep Guardiola’s leadership has taken Manchester City “to the next level”, adding: “The football this team plays is the most exciting in Europe”.
The chance to play Champions League football next season and push for top club honours were key factors in Grealish’s decision.
His move 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 have said they are probably two or three years away from where they would need to be in their project to convince Grealish to stay – but his departure may actually end up accelerating that process.
Grealish girlfriend on death threats
Villa did offer Grealish a new and improved contract earlier this summer, despite him signing a five-year deal last September.
Writing to his fans on Twitter, he said: “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.”
Grealish is a Villa academy graduate and has made over 200 appearances for the club, scoring 32 goals.
City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain hailed Grealish’s abilities, saying: “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.”
Villa are expected to formalise 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.