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Jack Grealish: Manchester City close to £100m transfer agreement with Aston Villa for midfielder

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Man City made £100m offer for Jack Grealish on Friday; Aston Villa offered their captain a new contract; Grealish’s move would eclipse Paul Pogba’s 2016 transfer to Manchester United and become biggest in English football history.

Manchester City are close to agreeing a £100m deal to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa.

City submitted their £100m offer on Friday and it is understood Villa are willing to let Grealish leave for the Premier League champions.

Grealish, who was given an extended break after playing for England at Euro 2020, was seen back in training with his Villa team-mates on Monday.

He will now have to decide whether he wants to depart his boyhood club in a move that would represent the biggest transfer in English football history.

The previous record is held by Paul Pogba, who re-joined Manchester United for £93.25m from Juventus in 2016.

Villa did offer Grealish a new and improved contract earlier this summer, despite him signing a five-year deal last September.

Grealish is a Villa academy graduate and has made over 200 appearances for the club, scoring 32 goals.

Grealish’s X-factor and his special appeal

Sky Sports’ Peter Smith…

“Aston Villa supporters have been hailing him for years, celebrating a special talent which had emerged from their youth ranks. It took some time for fans of other clubs to get on board but Jack Grealish and his X-factor has won over all the judges now. At Euro 2020, the sound of England supporters cheering his warm-ups and chanting his name, urging Gareth Southgate to throw him into the action, was the perfect illustration of that.

“He appeared for just 137 minutes at that tournament but he was a major story throughout. His two assists and cameos off the bench were a tantalising glimpse of what England had in the locker and drove the conversation about how they should attack.

Jack Grealish celebrates after England vs Germany
Image:England fans persistently called for Grealish to play at the Euros

“It is that enticing, exciting, game-changing potential which makes him such hot property.

“Inside Wembley this summer, the change in approach from opposition defenders when he came into the game was clear to see. They dropped deeper. They doubled up. They looked nervous and wary of what might come next. It’s a growing trend we’ve seen in the Premier League and Grealish’s skill, Grealish’s reputation has now earned international respect, too.

“That possibility of what Grealish could do at the top end of the Premier League or in the Champions League is clearly a question being pondered at Manchester City. The great Pep Guardiola attracted by the potential of greatness from Grealish.

“But those deep Villa roots mean Grealish won’t be easy to prise away from his hometown club. His iconic status there would be enhanced if he stayed on. It’s a pivotal moment in his career and, just like during the Euros, there is real intrigue with what he does next.”

The view from Villa: You wouldn’t blame Grealish

Sky Sports’ Gerard Brand…

“Of course, if Villa are to lose Grealish, the impact will be felt. The three months without him last season were a worrying case study: Villa won just 21 per cent of their games without, and won 54 per cent with their skipper.

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“But Villa’s glass should remain half full. In NSWE, they have owners clearly willing to make heavy yet sound investments and will have undoubtedly planned for Grealish’s potential exit – the £38m signing of Emi Buendia and interest in Leon Bailey, linked with the Premier League’s elite over the past 18 months, are evidence of that. That should go some way to plugging the creativity gap.

“And although he ended up signing a new deal with Arsenal, the attempt to capture Emile Smith Rowe was still a great show of ambition, given Villa rarely sign assets from big Premier League rivals.

“Villa aren’t new to this. The so-called top six have come calling for their best regularly over the past decade, but unlike when Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph were taken away in 2015, the Villa Grealish might be leaving behind is a strong one. Villa are in the best place they have been since 2010, and the 25-year-old still has a big decision to make.

“At Man City, he is guaranteed trophies, and those questioning how much playing time he will get should remember Pep Guardiola hands out minutes like no other manager in the Premier League. City made 136 changes last season, more than any Premier League side; it’s clear Guardiola doesn’t necessarily need a set XI for success, especially with around 60 games a season to play.

“And those arguing that a trophy with his boyhood club would be sweeter than anything he could achieve at City should remember Villa’s trophy cabinet hasn’t been opened since Grealish was six months old.

“While Villa are on the up, and a City move undoubtedly brings risks, you wouldn’t blame Grealish for backing himself as he approaches his peak years.”

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Black Stars Head Coach CK Akonnor sacked

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The Executive Council of the Ghana Football Association has taken a decision to terminate the appointment of Black Stars Coach Charles Akonnor and his two Assistants with immediate effect.

This follows the receipt of the Technical Report from the Head Coach of the Senior National Team and the report from the Black Stars Management Committee following Ghana’s Group G World Cup qualifying matches against Ethiopia and South Africa.

The Executive Council after considering the two reports have decided to terminate its relationship with the Head Coach C. K Akonnor and the two Assistants.

The Executive Council has formed a three (3) Member Committee made up of Vice President Mark Addo, Upper East Regional Football Association Chairman, Alhaji Salifu Zida and Dr. Randy Abbey to find a Head Coach and Assistant Coaches for the Black Stars within the next 72 hours.

The Association wishes C.K Akonnor and his Assistants the very best in their future endeavours.

Ghana currently have three (3) points after the two opening matches.

The Black Stars will take on Zimbabwe in the next round of games in October 2021.

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Andy Murray: Emma Raducanu win provides ‘huge opportunity’ for British tennis

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Kent teenager Emma Raducanu took New York by storm, not dropping a set en route to victory as she became the first qualifier in history to claim a grand slam crown; fellow Briton Andy Murray was asked about the 18-year-old after his Rennes Open first-round victory over Yannick Maden

Andy Murray has hailed Emma Raducanu’s “incredible” US Open win and spoken of a “huge opportunity” for British tennis.

Kent teenager Raducanu took New York by storm, not dropping a set en route to victory as she became the first qualifier in history to claim a grand slam crown.

Fellow Briton Murray was asked about the 18-year-old at a press conference on Monday after his Rennes Open first-round victory over Yannick Maden.

The three-time grand slam winner said: “It was incredible what she did there. I think for a lot of the people involved in British tennis, we knew she was extremely good.

“She hadn’t competed much for the last sort of 18 months or so with school and coronavirus and those sorts of things, but I think at Wimbledon (where Raducanu reached the fourth round) everyone sort of got a bit of a glimpse of how good she could be.

“I’ve spent a little bit of time around her on the practice court, but more so in the same building, training close to each other, and watching what she’s doing, and she’s obviously really, really good.

“But what she did in New York was very special, a huge boost for British tennis and gives hopefully the governing bodies an opportunity to capitalise on that and get more and more kids involved in the sport.

“It’s great what she did and a huge opportunity for British tennis now.”

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Antoine Griezmann: Atletico Madrid re-sign French forward on loan from Barcelona

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Antoine Griezmann joined Barcelona from Atletico Madrid in £103m deal two years ago; forward returns to Atletico on a season-long loan; Sky Italy and Barcelona say Atletico have obligation to make deal permanent next summer, but Atletico say they instead have the option to extend the loan

Antoine Griezmann has completed his shock Deadline Day return to Atletico Madrid on loan from Barcelona.

Atletico and Barcelona said there was an option to extend the loan for a further season, with the Catalan club adding the Madrid side also had an obligation to make the deal permanent. Sky in Italy reports this permanent deal would cost £34.4m (€40m).

Atletico were able to move for the 30-year-old after sanctioning Saul Niguez’s departure to Chelsea on an initial loan with an option to buy worth £33.4m (€38.9m) overall.

Diego Simeone was keen to sign a new striker and Griezmann will have no difficulty settling back at Atletico, having worked under the Argentine between 2014 and 2019.

Barcelona stated that Atletico have agreed to pay Griezmann’s wages in full.

AP AIMGE
Image:Saul Niguez joined Chelsea from Atletico Madrid on Deadline Day

The 2018 World Cup-winner joined Barcelona from Atletico on a £103m deal two years ago and scored 35 goals in 102 appearances for the club.

However, he has only won the Copa del Rey during his time at the Nou Camp, and the Catalan giants have been trying to lighten their wage bill this summer due to debts amounting to £1.15billion, as confirmed by club president Joan Laporta earlier in August.

The club’s reported financial struggles meant they were unable to offer Lionel Messi a new contract, prompting his shock exit to Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

On Tuesday, the club announced stalwarts Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba have accepted to take a pay cut in order to aid the club’s Financial Fair Play parameters and ensure new signing Sergio Aguero could be formally registered with the Spanish Football League (LFP).

Earlier in the summer, Gerard Pique took a similar decision to allow Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia to be ratified as Barcelona players.

Griezmann originally left Atletico for Barcelona in 2019 at the end of a protracted transfer saga after his £103m (€120m) release clause was paid in full.

A year earlier, he featured in a documentary with Spanish TV station Movistar called “The Decision” which followed him as he opted to stay at Atletico despite interest from Barcelona.

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