Jack Grealish has given Aston Villa the perfect pre-season boost by banishing speculation about a transfer and signing a new contract at the club he has supported and played for since childhood.
“I am delighted to make this commitment to Villa,” said Grealish after pledging his services to Villa for another five years. The club begin their 2020-21 campaign on Tuesday with a Carabao Cup tie at Burton before Monday’s Premier League match against Sheffield United.
“It is my club, my home and I am very happy here. The owners have made it very clear to me how ambitious they are and how they want to build Aston Villa. There are exciting times ahead and I am very glad to be part of it.”
Grealish has long been linked with moves to other clubs, notably Manchester United, but by pledging his future to Villa he has signalled his belief that the club is entering a new era of success under billionaire owners who invested heavily last season and again this summer, with more recruits expected before the closure of the transfer window in October.
“Jack is an emblem of our owners’ vision for Aston Villa,” said Villa’s CEO, Christian Purslow. “He joined our club as a local boy aged six and has developed into one of the country’s finest players, finally becoming a full England international last week. We are determined to build a top team around him and are delighted that he is extending his contract and committing himself to the club he loves.”
Villa’s manager, Dean Smith, told the Guardian that he foresees Grealish growing into an even more precious player for his team as Villa continue to develop and buy. Villa have broken their club record this month to prise Ollie Watkins from Brentford and signed Matty Cash from Nottingham Forest. They are close to completing deals for the goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez from Arsenal and the forward Bertrand Traoré from Lyon and are in talks with Werder Bremen for the winger Milot Rashica.
“We’re planning this season around Jack as one of our core players, along with John McGinn, who’s like having a new signing now that he’s back at full speed, Tyrone Mings and Douglas Luiz, who finished the season fantastically,” said Smith. “If we could bring in another four or five quality players that only makes the squad better. That ups the training levels and match levels. Jack Grealish will look a better player with better players.”