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Jack Grealish:I came close to joining Man Utd in 2020

Jack Grealish

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Jack Grealish has revealed he was “really close” to joining Manchester United from Aston Villa in 2020, a year prior to his £100m move to their rivals City.

The England international, 26, who faces his former club Villa for the first time on Wednesday following his move to the Etihad Stadium, attracted interest from a number of Premier League sides after excelling in the Villa first-team since making his debut in May 2014.

He helped the club gain promotion to the top-flight in 2019 after a three-year absence and scored 14 goals in 62 Premier League appearances under former manager Dean Smith following their return.

Grealish was targeted by former Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer during the summer transfer window last year, but the playmaker opted to stay at Villa Park and signed a new long-term contract until 2025.

“I was really close to going, but nothing happened in the end,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

Grealish has 18 caps for England and played a key role in the Three Lions’ run to the final of Euro 2020

“We played United in a pre-season game on Saturday and I wasn’t supposed to play in a cup game at Burton.

“But after the United game I said to Christian Purslow [Aston Villa’s chief executive] and my agent ‘if I’m not leaving, I’ll sign my new contract’.

READ ALSO Gerrard not scared by return of £100m man Grealish

“I went in with my dog on Tuesday morning, signed the deal, and played later that day. We all agreed on the clause and if any team hit that, it’s a win-win because it means I’ve had an unbelievable season and Villa got £100 million.”

Grealish, who has two goals and three assists in 15 matches for City since joining for a club-record fee, has admitted to finding playing for the Premier League champions harder than expected.

After Wednesday’s clash with Villa, Pep Guardiola’s side face Watford on Saturday.

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