Jack Grealish reveals he was ‘really close’ to joining Manchester United

Jack Grealish was previously linked with a move to Manchester United (Picture: Andy Rain – Pool/Getty Images)

Jack Grealish has revealed he was ‘really close’ to completing a move to Manchester United in the summer of 2020.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had then been keen to bring the Aston Villa captain to Old Trafford but the Midlands side were reluctant to part with their star man.

Off the back of United’s interest, Grealish signed a new deal with his boyhood club that included a £100m release clause – which neighbours Manchester City forked out for in the summer.

Ahead of Grealish returning to Villa Park for City’s game on Wednesday night, he revealed how close he came to joining the red side of Manchester 12 months earlier.

‘I was really close to going, but nothing happened in the end,’ he told The Telegraph.

‘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 and my agent ‘if I’m not leaving, I’ll sign my new contract.’

Jack Grealish is enjoying his football under Pep Guardiola (Picture: Vincent Mignott/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

‘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 admits he found it difficult to walk away from Villa but the ultimate lure of playing Champions League football proved too hard to turn down.

‘You only get one shot at your career and it just flies by,’ he added.

‘I feel Villa are going towards that [Europe] but I just didn’t know how long it was going to take for us. If I hadn’t come here, I would have regretted it forever. I remember hearing Michael Owen say the same about Real Madrid.

‘You look at most of my England team-mates – I was probably one of the last to play [in the] Champions League. You could probably count two or three who haven’t, such as Kalvin Phillips or Sam Johnstone.

‘I’ve played four times in it now and loved every moment. It’s completely different to the Premier League, a completely different standard and way of playing.

‘It’s the one we all want to win. The manager has come here and won everything else, we’re all desperate to win it and I’ve come here to try and help them.’

Grealish has bagged two goals for City this season and will be hoping to add to his tally against Villa providing he is passed fit.

MORE : Pep Guardiola gives Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish updates amid Man City ’emergency’

MORE : Paul Ince tells Ralf Rangnick the two Man Utd stars he needs to prioritise improving

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