Manchester City playmaker Jack Grealish has now opened up on Tottenham Hotspur’s attempts to sign him – and Dean Smith’s eventual reaction.
When Aston Villa missed out on promotion in 2018, Villa had major financial problems and star man Grealish looked to be primed for the exit.
Tottenham wanted to sign the playmaker, offering £25million to sign him after weeks of haggling and brinkmanship from Daniel Levy.
They even tried a ridiculously cheeky bid of £3million plus Joshua Onomah, an offer that didn’t even make Villa consider a sale.
Villa were saved in the end as Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris came in to buy the club, meaning Grealish didn’t have to be sold.
He has gone from strength to strength ever since, winning promotion with Villa and then enjoying two great Premier League campaigns with his boyhood club.
This summer, Grealish finally left Villa Park in a £100million deal this summer, joining Manchester City to become the most expensive English player of all time.
Grealish has now spoken to ITV, and admitted he very nearly joined Tottenham in 2018, and then got some stick from Dean Smith about it months later.
Smith became Villa boss months after Tottenham’s bids, and immediately questioned why he was being billed at £25million when he wasn’t contributing enough goals or assists for Villa, so he set about changing his game a little – and ultimately made Tottenham regret missing out.
“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,” said Grealish.
“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,” he added.