Jack Grealish has revealed that Dean Smith told him just a few months after his failed move to Tottenham that he had to start delivering more goals and assists.
Tottenham’s failure to get a deal for Grealish over the line during the summer of 2018 has been a source of much frustration for Spurs fans over the last few years.
The Lilywhites reportedly made a cheeky bid of £3m plus Joshua Onomah for the midfielder which was turned down by Villa before returning with a £25m offer for him later in the window, which also did not prove to be enough to prise the player away from Villa Park after they were the subject of a takeover.
Grealish has gone from strength to strength since then, helping his boyhood club win promotion to the Premier League, shining in the top flight and even establishing himself as a regular in England set up.
The 25-year-old eventually got his big move this summer, with Manchester City snapping him up in a British record £100m deal.
Speaking to ITV, Grealish said: “I’ll always remember Dean Smith when he first come into Villa, he come in about three months into the season and I’d just nearly signed for Spurs that summer, it didn’t happen and then I stayed at Villa.
“He come in and he pulled me on his first day, and he says ‘so you were gonna sign for Spurs?’, I was like ‘yeah, nearly’. He was like ‘£25m?’ – I think we were like nine games in – ‘nine games in now, look.’ On the board it said no goals, one assist.
“He was like ‘I need you to get your numbers up’, and that was one thing I tried to do, to get my numbers up there, and as soon as I’ve gone to City, that’s what the manager has said to me.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Tottenham’s refusal to pay up extra for Grealish in 2018 was undoubtedly a major mistake. However, it is very easy to be critical of Tottenham’s decision in hindsight.
Grealish had not pulled any trees in the Championship at that time and many Spurs fans were questioning then if he was good enough for us. Even paying £25m for him would have been a gamble at that point.
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