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Pep Guardiola gets his man, as Manchester City secure the astounding signing of Jack Grealish

Manchester City finally completed their pursuit of Aston Villa's captain and talisman after triggering his £100 million release clause, despite hopes that Grealish would sign a new contract at his boyhood club.


Grealish is regarded as one of the Premier League's most talented players, with silky dribbling skills and expertise in creating chances for his teammates.


From the beginning of the summer transfer window, it is well known that the creative midfielder was a priority signing for Guardiola's Blues, in the hope that he can fill the void left by David Silva's departure last year.


City may have the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Ilkay Gundogan to provide goalscoring chances from midfield, but with Bernardo Silva also likely to move on, a gap in the squad needs filling.


Grealish is set to sign a five-year deal, earning over £200,000 a week, making him one of City's highest-paid players.


The England international starred in Villa's revival last season, helping them to an encouraging 11th placed finish after relegation worries the previous year. Grealish recorded six goals and 12 assists in last season’s campaign, earning a call up to England's senior squad in December.



Grealish was also part of England's successful Euro 2020 campaign, creating two goals for his teammates and generally creating chaos in the opposition defences.


Football fans across the world may wince at the price City are paying for Grealish, but it's mainly due to three factors. English players' stock is at an all-time high after the success of the national side, with the quality of football displayed in the Premier League admired across the world.


The second factor is the Premier League's homegrown player ruling, in which a team’s squad must have eight homegrown players. UEFA have a similar rule for the European competitions they run, so this may have had some influence on targeting Grealish.


Villa are also not in a place where they need the money. The Birmingham-based side are owned by the NSWE group, led by Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, who are thought to have a combined net worth of around £7.31 billion.


City's chase of Grealish has proven that Villa are tough negotiators and feel they are in a place where they can challenge for European football this season. The hope was to do this with their ultimate fans’ favourite at the helm, joined by Emi Buendia and potentially Leon Bailey.


However, Grealish's aim to work with Pep Guardiola and win multiple trophies was the signal for Villa to allow their homegrown talent to move on, despite the frustrations of the fans.



It's not the first time City have signed one of Villa's top players. Gareth Barry, James Milner and Fabian Delph have all made the switch from the Midlands to Manchester since Sheik Mansour's 2008 takeover, but the signing of Grealish may be the one that hurts the most.


Questions have been raised by some over Grealish's use in the Manchester City team and whether he quite fits Guardiola's system.


Some older City fans have worrying memories of the flamboyant Rodney Marsh joining Malcolm Allisons' side in 1972. There are undoubtedly similarities between players in that they're both entertainers, though it's thought Guardiola can instill discipline into Grealish's game.


Many think Guardiola aims to turn Grealish into a central creative player who can dictate the tempo of the game rather than the unpredictable but equally brilliant left-sided playmaker he's performed as for Villa and England.





There is no doubt in Guardiola's ability to modify a footballer’s game to suit his style, such as using primarily central midfielders Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fabian Delph as inverted left-backs. Grealish is another who will have to adapt to be successful at the Etihad Stadium.


Everyone with a love of football will be watching closely to see if Grealish can fulfil his heavy price tag, with all connected to Manchester City hoping he can perform to his optimum level.



Written by @Ben_Pitkeathly2