‘I thought I’d score so many goals’ – Grealish admits Man City adjustment has been difficult after £100m transfer
- Broke British transfer record in 2021
- Moved to the Etihad for £100m
- Has struggled for end product at times
WHAT HAPPENED? The England international became the most expensive player in British football when completing a record-breaking £100 million ($119m) transfer to the Etihad Stadium from Aston Villa in the summer of 2021. He has registered seven goals and as many assists through 59 appearances since then – with his latest contribution in the final third teeing up Riyad Mahrez's winner against Chelsea on Thursday at Stamford Bridge – but more was expected from the 27-year-old following his arrival at the Etihad Stadium.
WHAT THEY SAID: Grealish has told Sky Sports of his adjustment to life at City: “When I came here, I'll be honest with you, it was so much more difficult than I thought. In my head I thought I was going to the team sitting top of the league and I was going to get so many goals and assists and obviously it isn't the case. A lot of teams tend to sit in against us and that wasn't the case at Villa.”
He added: “[Ex-Aston Villa manager] Dean Smith would tell me to go and find the weak link in the defence, whether that was on the right, the middle or whether I wanted to hug the touchline - and at Villa, I always had an overlapping full-back. I came into City, having been at Villa my whole life, and I've never had to change. I've always been used to that. I didn't realise how hard it is to adapt to a different team and manager.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Grealish has started just eight of City’s 17 Premier League games this season – as he faces competition for places from the likes of Mahrez, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva and Julian Alvarez – and also saw all five of his outings for England at the 2022 World Cup come from off the bench.
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WHAT NEXT? Grealish will be hoping to figure prominently for City over the remainder of the 2022-23 campaign, with Pep Guardiola’s side still in the hunt for Premier League, Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Champions League honours.