Manchester City completed one of the most exciting deals of the summer as they signed England midfielder Jack Grealish on Thursday.
The Aston Villa star was secured for a reported fee of £100 million ($139.8m), making him the most expensive signing in British football history.
Grealish had spent his entire career at boyhood club Aston Villa, barring a loan spell at Notts County in 2013/14, and was made captain in 2019, helping the club gain promotion to the Premier League.
Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow said Grealish had signed the new contract on the condition that if a club playing in the Champions League were interested in him, Villa would not stand in the way if they weren't in the competition. Villa finished 11th last season, failing to qualify for the Champions League.
The stage is now set for Grealish to team up with Pep Guardiola and fight for trophies in the UK and Europe. Following the signing, Grealish had a special message for Manchester City fans in Abu Dhabi.
“Thank you to all for the support. I am absolutely delighted to be here," said Grealish, who will wear the number 10 jersey.
"I can’t wait to get going. One thing I will do is, every single game I will play with my heart on my sleeve. I will give everything I can. I can’t wait to get going. Over the next however many years, we can share good memories together and win a lot of trophies. Because that’s what I have come here for.”
The midfielder has been in prime form, scoring six goals in the Premier League last season, and providing 10 assists. He also helped England reach the final of Euro 2020 at Wembley.
The lure of playing at City was therefore too good to resist. When asked what attracted him to the club, Grealish said it was a combination of factors.
"It was a few things actually. One, the manager. Everyone knows that he is the best manager in the world," the 25-year-old said.
"Two, being in Europe in the Champions League. Something I have always wanted to do since I was a kid. Last season, when I was sitting there on a Tuesday or Wednesday night, watching at home, that was something I was desperate to be involved in.
"Three, the players here. Everyone knows how much of a fan I am of Kevin de Bruyne. So it will be a pleasure to play with him.
"Every single season, it shows… how Man City as a club compete for every single trophy. And that’s what I have come here to do - to win trophies, to win medals and I can’t wait to do that."