Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow has revealed the club were unable to stand in the way of Jack Grealish’s move to Manchester City due to a £100m release clause in his contract.
The England international recently completed his Premier League record move to Pep Guardiola’s side, bringing to an end his 19-year stay at his boyhood club.
Purslow has now moved to inform Villa fans of the situation the club were in when City lodged their eye-watering bid, explaining that Grealish had a £100m exit clause in his contract and that the Villans did all they could to try and convince him to stay.
“I want to confirm the transfer of our captain Jack Grealish to Manchester City and to explain the background to this move,” he said in a video uploaded to Villa’s official social media page.
“Last summer, following interest from a number of clubs, we offered Jack a new contract to stay at the club which he accepted with one proviso – Jack wanted to be certain that if at any point a Champions League club came in for him, and Aston villa was not in that competition, we would not stand in his way.”
“For that reason, we agreed to incorporate a so-called release clause into his contract. Our board set this clause at a value of £100m knowing that would be by some way a record price for a British footballer and also a record fee for any player bought by a Premier League club.
“We set the value at a level we hoped would not be met, but which would reflect his truly unique value to Aston Villa.
“A number of clubs have expressed interest in signing him, initially at figures below the release clause and we simply refused to entertain these approaches. Finally, Manchester City informed us that they would be willing to pay the £100m it would take to trigger this clause.
“After many hours of discussions involving Jack, his family and his agent, during which we made clear our strong desire for him to stay at Aston Villa, Jack decided he would like to go to Manchester City and instructed us to exercise his release clause, as was his prerogative.
“It was a highly emotional moment when he finally told me his decision, leaving me in no doubt how hard it had been for him to decide to leave our club which he joined when he was six years old. Ultimately he said it boiled down to wanting to play Champions League football now.”
Despite wishing Grealish luck at his new club, Purslow added that Villa are already looking to the future, explaining that a lot of work has gone into identifying the right players to replace their former captain.
“It was never our intention to replace Jack with one footballer,” he added. “Our strategy was to analyse and break down Jack’s key attributes, his creativity, his assist and his goals, and to find these qualities and others in three forward players.
“In signing the three forward players Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings, we believe we have achieved this key objective and in doing so have also reduced an over-dependency on one brilliant footballer.”
Grealish has already taken to his social media page to thank Villa fans for their support over the years, adding that the club are in great hands and that he’s excited to see how they progress next season.