Guardiola details why Man City splashed cash on Grealish
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Pep Guardiola believes Jack Grealish can jolt Manchester City’s dressing room off the field and provide the spark of genius on it to take the club to the next level.
City broke the British transfer record at £100million for the Aston Villa man this week and fans could get first sight of him in sky blue off the bench in the Community Shield at Wembley on Saturday.
But Guardiola insisted it will be further down the line that the Jack Factor is seen to full effect both in the Champions League and domestically over the course of the next few years.
“When a team in the last four or five years wins a lot – and we cannot deny that we won a lot and arrived at a new level in Europe – we need new players,” said Guardiola.
“Not many, but players that can raise the level of the players who stayed here for a long time. Otherwise, it’s difficult to continue to make a step forward.
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“Every player here has to be under pressure… so when these type of players arrive, when you see Jack’s mentality and quality, that’s why we thought this was a guy who could help us maintain the level and try to raise it over the next few years.”
Guardiola admitted the Community Shield against Leicester City will come too soon for Grealish to start but the playmaker could feature off the bench if he makes the pitch at all.
And the Catalan conceded late international arrivals and injuries will see him field an understrength side against Brendan Rodgers’ side with Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne injured.
John Stones, Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker, Ederson and Gabriel Jesus are also all unavailable.
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Guardiola, who met with Grealish, his parents, sisters and girlfriend on Thursday as the player was welcomed to the Etihad, cannot wait to start working with the former Villa man.
And he said he has no doubts as to how City can help him improve.
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“We don’t have any doubts he’ll help the way we play, but he wants to become a top, top international player, a better player than he is already,” said Guardiola.
“He arrives with an incredible positive things and ready to start to settle into the team.
“He is 25 years old and has the best years in his career ahead. He made an exceptional contribution at Aston Villa he did amazingly there and he and can get to another level with us.”
Guardiola, who sent his best wishes to Foxes defender Wesley Fofana after his on his horror leg break, takes aim at a third Community Shield of his tenure.
And he finished by dedicating City’s performance to the late son of Michael Ballack, Emilio, killed tragically in a quad biking accident in Portugal this week.
He said: “He was a friend of my family, we met in Munich. An exceptional 18-year-old boy. On behalf of myself to Michael and the kids, I want to play the final as best as possible and we try to win to dedicate it to him.”
Choking back tears Guardiola added: “This is for you Michael and your family. I’m so sorry.”
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