New Manchester City star Jack Grealish has opened up about just how close he came to joining Tottenham earlier on in his career.
Grealish, 25, completed his long-awaited £100million transfer from the Midlands up to Manchester in the transfer window that has just gone by.
The England international made his debut in the sky blue jersey of Manchester City in their opening Premier League clash as Pep Guardiola’s men were defeated against Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
A goal from Son Heung-min was enough on that occasion to condemn Grealish and Pep Guardiola to defeat on the opening weekend.
Since then, the 25-year-old has shown what he’s about in the Cityzens’ consecutive 5-0 Premier League wins against Norwich City and Arsenal respectively.
But the Birmingham-born star’s career could have been a lot different if cash-strapped Aston Villa at the time decided to release their talisman after missing out on promotion to the top flight of English football back in 2018.
Back then, Daniel Levy and Tottenham were strongly linked with a £25million swoop for the rising star, who seemed to be available on the market at the time for a cut-price.
However, as a result of Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris taking over as owners in the west Midlands, their financial backing resulted in Grealish staying put at the time at his beloved boyhood club at the expense of the north Londoners.
Despite the end decision taken by the Villa hierarchy to retain their most prized asset at the time, Grealish has now spoken to ITV, and admitted he very nearly joined Tottenham in 2018, and then got some stick from Dean Smith about it months later.
For some extra context, Smith became Villa’s manager months after Tottenham’s bids and he immediately questioned the price tag for a player that he felt was unproven at the top level.
“I’ll always remember Dean Smith when he first come into Villa, he come in about three months into the season and I’d just nearly signed for Spurs that summer, it didn’t happen and then I stayed at Villa,” said Grealish.
“He come in and he pulled me on his first day, and he says ‘so you were gonna [sic] sign for Spurs?’, I was like ‘yeah, nearly’. He was like ‘£25m?’ – I think we were like nine games in – ‘nine games in now, look’.
“On the board it said no goals, one assist. He was like ‘I need you to get your numbers up’, and that was one thing I tried to do, to get my numbers up there, and as soon as I’ve gone to City, that’s what the manager has said to me,” he added.
Source by Football London