Manchester City on Friday morning announced the signing of Jack Grealish on a six-year deal from Aston Villa for a fee reported to be £100 million ($A188 million).
City confirmed Grealish will wear the number 10 shirt, which was recently vacated by the departure to Barcelona of long-serving striker Sergio Aguero.
The 25-year-old will become the most expensive English player of all-time after City officially finalised the blockbuster swoop.
The fee will shatter the British record of £89 million paid by Manchester United to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus in 2016.
Grealish returned from holiday in Dubrovnik at the start of this week and resumed training while City hammered out the deal.
Having graduated from Villa’s youth academy, Grealish has spent his entire career at the club he supported as a boy, apart from a loan spell at Notts County in the 2013-14 season.
He has made 213 appearances for Villa since his debut in 2014, scoring 32 goals and laying on 43 assists.
Grealish, who has four years remaining on his Villa contract, scored six times in the league last season and provided 10 assists.
Grealish has never played in the Champions League and joining City will give him a chance to showcase his talents at the highest level.
The Villa captain’s four appearances for England during their run to the Euro 2020 final last month gave a glimpse of the quality that convinced City manager Pep Guardiola to make his move.
The deal will be a major statement of intent by City ahead of the new season.
Grealish’s ability to prise open defences will give Guardiola another weapon as City look to defend the title.
Guardiola already has Grealish’s England team-mates Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling in creative attacking roles, with Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez giving the City manager an embarrassment of riches in the final third.
City face Leicester in the Community Shield at Wembley on Saturday before starting their Premier League campaign against Tottenham on August 15.
LUKAKU ASKS FOR CHELSEA RETURN
Chelsea’s pursuit of a top-tier striker to boost their Premier League title bid has been one of the stories of the transfer window – and things have just taken another twist.
Chelsea have so far had two offers for Romelu Lukaku rejected by Inter Milan, but the Blues have not been dissuaded.
Now the barnstorming Belgian striker has asked the club to allow him to return to Stamford Bridge, as per Sky in Italy.
Chelsea’s second offer was £85m ($A160m) and would also have sent left-back Marcos Alonso to the Italian heavyweights.
Sky Sports claims an offer between £94m ($A177m) and £102m ($A192m) could end Inter’s resistance.
Lukaku spent three years at Chelsea after arriving in 2011 but managed just 15 appearances without scoring.
He moved to Everton in July 2014, before opting to join Manchester United three years later instead of returning to Chelsea. Last season, his second with Inter, he guided the club to a first Serie A title since 2009-10.
ARSENAL STILL KEEN ON MADDISON
Meanwhile Arsenal are interested in signing Leicester and England midfielder James Maddison.
According to Sky Sports, Maddison is open to the idea of joining the Gunners – despite Arsenal finishing below Leicester in the last two league campaigns.
But having splashed £50m ($A94m) on Ben White, it appears unlikely that the Gunners can muster enough cash to meet the Foxes’ £60m ($A113m) asking price on Maddison.
That is especially the case given Leicester coach Brendan Rodgers has insisted in recent weeks that the club “don’t need to sell” players this transfer window.
He said: “In conversations with the club, we don’t have to sell. That’s something that’s been made clear.
“The players want to stay. It’s a really exciting time at the club.
“There’s lots of gossip and speculation around but I’m loving working with the guys here, they love being here, and we certainly have no need to sell. So I would suspect we’re looking to keep our best players.”
Arsenal sending a player in the other direction in a player-plus-cash deal is a possibility, with reports stating Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, or Eddie Nketiah have all been named as potential makeweights in the deal.
Maddison scored eight times and assisted a further five in his 24 starts last Premier League campaign.