Manchester City midfielder Jack Grealish has revealed that he was “really close” to joining Manchester United in the summer of 2020.
At the time when the England international was captain of his boyhood club Aston Villa, former United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was keen on bringing Grealish to Old Trafford.
Speaking in an interview to the Telegraph, ahead of his first game back at Villa Park, since City triggered the £100million release clause inserted into his contract, in the summer, Grealish revealed how close he was to moving to the red side of Manchester.
Grealish said: “I was really close to going, but nothing happened in the end,” he says.
“We played United in a pre-season game on Saturday [in September 2020] and I wasn’t supposed to play in a cup game at Burton. But after the United game I said to Purslow and my agent [David Manasseh] ‘if I’m not leaving, I’ll sign my new contract’.
“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 £100million.”
United in a good place regardless of Grealish
In the summer that City signed Grealish, Manchester United bolstered our attack with the signings of Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, alongside the addition of World Cup winner Raphael Varane.
There is no denying Grealish’s quality, we witnessed him whip a curling effort past a stricken David de Gea, into the top corner at the Stretford End, in December 2019.
But when we already had the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek, capable of playing in the attacking midfielder role, as well as the returning Jesse Lingard, spending £100m on Grealish wouldn’t have made sense at that time.
Although he predominantly plays from the left, United have the likes of Marcus Rashford, Sancho, Anthony Martial and Pogba, all capable of playing that position.
However, if we had signed Grealish last summer, when Sancho and Ronaldo weren’t at the club, then maybe he would have made the inside left forward position his own.
Grealish will be targeting big trophies playing for City. But United’s job right now is to rebuild under new interim manager Ralf Rangnick and then over time, we can maybe make the 26-year-old feel like he made the wrong transfer decision.
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