Jack Grealish admits he was 50/50 over his future before being ‘persuaded’ by the club’s owner to sign a new long-term contract with Aston Villa.
Villa announced on Tuesday that their captain had signed a new five-year deal to remain at the club, ending speculation over the midfielder who had been continuously linked with a move away.
Manchester United had been strongly linked with the newly-capped England international, however, the MEN insist that ‘no discussions’ took place between the Red Devils and Villa, with ‘uncertainty’ at Old Trafford as to where he would fit into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Grealish has now opened up on his decision to sign a new deal with his boyhood club, saying that the owner’s ambitious plans for the club convinced him his future remained at Villa Park, before revealing his mind was only made up the previous day.
“Yesterday,” he told Sky Sports on Tuesday evening when asked about when he decided to stay.
“I decided that I wanted to stay – well, I’ve always wanted to stay, its Aston Villa! It’s a club that’s close to me and my family, I think everyone knows that – but there’s obviously been speculation all through the summer.
“On Saturday I had a FaceTime call with the owner and he said what his ambitions are for this season and it really persuaded me.
“I also spoke to the manager and Christian Purslow, who have both been a breath of fresh air since they came in.
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“And then it was only yesterday when talks got underway and it was done within 24 hours so it was quite an easy one, which is obviously good for myself.
“I’m delighted to have signed it and get the season underway.”
Speaking after scoring in Aston Villa’s 3-1 Carabao Cup win at Burton Albion, Grealish suggested he had considered leaving the club, being asked if he was 50/50 as to whether he would stay: “Yeah, I suppose so,” he admitted.
“I had a good season last season and there was interest in myself from other clubs, but I just truly believe that everything happens for a reason and I’ve just happened to sign a new contract at Aston Villa, and I’ve got the biggest smile on my face.”
The 25-year-old also discussed Villa’s plans for the season ahead of the club’s opening fixture against Sheffield United on Monday night, with Dean Smith’s side keen to improve on last season’s showing after avoiding relegation by the narrowest of margins.
“Last season didn’t go the way we planned, although we stayed in the Premier League, I think everyone involved with the club wanted to probably finish higher,” he continued.
“But there are certain things that the owners have said to me, and the chief executive and the manager, and they have said set out their ambitions. I’m not going to say everything [that they said to me] because it’s something that you keep in house, but it really persuaded me to get it over and done with.”