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Jack Grealish comes clean on Villa deal and reveals how close Man Utd move was
Jack Grealish has conceded it had been 50-50 that he would remain at the club for this season amid strong interest from Manchester United.
Villa announced on Tuesday that their captain had signed a new five-year contract, ending speculation over his future.
United had long been linked with Grealish all summer but talk of a move to Old Trafford has been firmly put to bed.
Speaking after helping Villa see off Burton 3-1 in the Carabao Cup, Grealish said a conversation with the clubs owner over the weekend convinced him to stay.
Asked when he decided he wanted to stay, Grealish told Sky Sports: Yesterday. Saying that Ive always wanted to stay, its Aston Villa a club thats close to me and my family.
Theres obviously been speculation through the summer. On Saturday I had a facetime call with the owner and he said what his ambitions are for this season and it really persuaded me if anything.
Then I also spoke to the manager and Christian Purslow who have been a breath of fresh air since theyve come in. It was only yesterday when talks got under way and it was done within 24 hours. So it was quite an easy one for myself to sign it and get the season under way.
When asked if it was 50-50 whether he would stay prior to that, Grealish said: Yeah, I suppose so. I had a good season last season and there was interest in myself from other clubs. But I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Now I’ve signed a new contract at Aston Villa and Ive got the biggest smile on my face.
Last season it probably didnt go the way we planned. Although we stayed in the Premier League I think everyone involved in the club wanted to finish higher. Theres certain stuff that the owners have said to me. The chief executive and the manager, theyve said their ambitions for the season.
Im not going to come out here and say everything, because its something that you keep in house. But it really persuaded me to get this over and done with.
Grealish celebrated his new contract by scoring late on against Burton to help send his team through at the Pirelli Stadium.
The tie looked to be heading for a penalty shoot-out. Club-record signing Ollie Watkins had scored Villas equaliser late in the first half. That’s after Colin Daniels opener for the League One side after 68 seconds.
But Grealish struck a sweet volley from the edge of the area to edge Smiths team in front after 88. Keinan Davis then made sure of the victory in injury time. The 3-1 win hands Villa a trip to Bristol City or Northampton in the next round.
Villa boss Dean Smith said of Grealish in his post-match press conference: Hes been courted and speculated on but we didnt receive a bid for him.
Its a big boost that he is staying and a massive statement of intent from the football club and the owners. Jack is talismanic and we know what a tremendous talent he is. We are only too pleased he has agreed to stay.
Villa, finalists in the Carabao Cup last season, were made to work for their win by League One side Burton. But Smith was pleased overall with how his teams first game of the new season panned out.
The start didnt help but I thought we controlled possession really well, he said. Our competitive edge wasnt quite there. But their goal gave us a quick reminder that we were in a match that we would have to go and win. They made it tough for us.
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