PRICE TAG: Grealish says transfer fee will inspire him at City
Jack Grealish believes his £100million price tag will inspire rather than hinder him following his record move to Manchester City.
The England international admits he cried when he left boyhood club Aston Villa last week but felt the time was right to join a club competing for the top honours.
The challenge ahead with the Premier League champions is something he is relishing and he does not feel burdened by the expectation that could come with being British football’s most expensive player.
“It don’t put no pressure on me whatsoever,” said Grealish as he was paraded by the club on Monday, two days after his debut in the Community Shield.
“I take that as a compliment. I actually like it, I think it is a good tag to have.
“I think when you see a football club paying that much for a player it means they trust and value you highly and see so much potential there to work with.
“I just see it as a good thing. I just hope now I can repay this whole football club by winning as many titles as possible and winning that trophy is all we want.”
Grealish, 25, has signed a six-year deal at City after being enticed by the prospect of playing in the Champions League and the chance playing under Pep Guardiola, as well as alongside Kevin De Bruyne and other stellar names.
He did, however, admit that his final day at Villa was emotional, having been at the club since he was six and become a fans’ hero.
“Everyone has seen the way (Lionel) Messi was yesterday at his final press conference (at Barcelona) and that is the exact way I felt myself,” said Grealish, who spoke to media before being presented to fans outside the Etihad Stadium.
“Before I left the hotel, I spoke to the team and the staff and the players and I ‘teared up’ a little bit myself, but I felt it was time for me to move on.
“I have always said I wanted to play Champions League football and I couldn’t do that at Villa this year.”
Grealish made clear his admiration for the key figures at City as he explained further his decision to move.
He said: “It was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make. It came down to a few things. It was just something I felt I couldn’t turn down – the chance to play Champions League football, to challenge for trophies and to play next to people like Kevin De Bruyne, who I have looked up to for the last few years, and also playing for best manager in the world was obviously a massive factor in it.”
City were runners-up in the Champions League last season and Grealish is confident they could go one better this term.
He said: “I look around the changing room and there is so much talent and so much depth in the squad that I fully believe we can win it.
“We have some of the best players in the Premier League and the depth in every position is just crazy. That is something we will be looking to win this year along with every other trophy that is going.”
Grealish’s move sees him link up with his England team-mates Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, John Stones and Kyle Walker while the club continue to be linked with another in Harry Kane.
Grealish feels his international ambitions can only be helped by the move and expects England to benefit too from having a strong core of players at the club.
He said: “If I am performing for Man City week-in, week-out and playing in the Champions League and performing the way I know I can, it could set me up to have a brilliant future with the national team and to try to and start games at the World Cup and in the qualifiers.
“That was another important reason and if there are a few of us playing together and then going off to the national team I think that is something Gareth (Southgate) would probably like because we would have that chemistry.”
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