Jack Grealish has written a heartfelt open letter for all Aston Villa fans following his departure from the club. The former Villains captain has officially completed a move away from his boyhood club, with Grealish joining Manchester City for an eye-whopping fee of £100 million. Realizing that his departure might entice negative emotions from Villa fans, Grealish took it upon himself to post on social media his parting words to both Villa and their supporters, in hopes that everyone would understood that his departure was that of an amicable nature.
Grealish had broke the British transfer record on Thursday UK time, with his £100 million move to City eclipsing the £89 million that Manchester United had paid Juventus to bring back Paul Pogba to Old Trafford back in 2016.
Having joined Villa in the tender age of 6, Grealish rose through the Villains’ ranks, from a spritely youth player to the Birmingham-based club’s captain. The 25-year old midfielder made his Premier League debut in the 2014/15 season, coincidentally in a 4-0 defeat at the hands of City, before scoring his first top-flight goal in 2015/16 against eventual champions Leicester City, in a season where Villa were relegated after finishing bottom of the league.
Grealish used his time in the Championship to hone his skills with Villa before eventually inheriting the captain’s armband, leading them back to the Premier League in 2018/19 with a play-off win over Frank Lampard’s Derby County.
Being back in the top-flight allowed Grealish to blossom even more, scoring 8 goals in 36 appearances during the 2019/20 season before scoring 6 in 26 during the 2020/21 season – two of those goals being scored in a 7-2 demolition job of defending league champions Liverpool at Villa Park in October of 2020.
His impressive performances week in week out for Villa earned him a call-up to the England senior national team for Euro 2020, despite Grealish having represented the Republic of Ireland during his youth. Grealish made the switch to England in 2015 and has represented the English age-group national teams for five years prior to making his senior team debut in September 2020.
In total, Grealish made 213 appearances for Villa as he left the club that he grew up supporting for the greener pastures of the Etihad Stadium.
Penning his farewell letter that was posted on his social media channels, Grealish made it clear that he still supports Villa from the bottom of his heart and he’s thankful for everything that the club and their fans had done to him throughout the 19 years he spent at Villa Park.
“I want to thank the manager and my teammates, I’ll never forget everything we achieved together…and to the fans who have supported me through everything, I can’t thank you enough,” Grealish wrote, “I’ll always be a Villa fan – I love this club with all my heart and I hope you understand my reasons for seeking a new challenge.”
Said new challenge will saw Grealish reinforce an already stacked City midfield, which already boasts names such as Kevin de Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, and Riyad Mahrez.
The Grealish-Sterling-Foden trio has been touted as the biggest highlight of the England squad in future major tournaments and City head coach Pep Guardiola are looking to make that happen in club-level at the Etihad, with the potential signing of Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur providing City the opportunity to dominate the Three Lions’ attack.
Despite Villa losing their talismanic player from the past couple of years, Grealish has assured the club’s fans in his open letter that the Villains are in good hands for the future.
The men in claret and blue have signed Leon Bailey from Bayer Leverkusen and Danny Ings from Southampton to go with Emiliano Buendia from Norwich City and Ashley Young, who’s returning back to Villa Park after stints away at United and Inter Milan, and with the £100 million that they had received from City, more investments can be done to Dean Smith’s squad that could see them improve their 11th placed finish from 2020/21.
“The club are in great hands, the manager, the lads, the new signings coming in,” Grealish wrote in his letter, “It’s an exciting time to be a Villa fan.”