Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow has updated supporters on the circumstances surrounding the departure of Jack Grealish, and his balanced thoughts and transparency on the situation has earned widespread praise from fans.
It was announced on Thursday afternoon that Jack Grealish had finally completed a £100 million move to Premier League champions Manchester City. After months of intense speculation surrounding his future, the news came as no surprise to many.
Grealish, who spent 19 years at boyhood club Aston Villa, released a statement of his own after signing a six-year deal at the Etihad. "I'll always be a Villa fan," he wrote. "I love this club with all my heart and I hope you understand my reasons for seeking a new challenge."
In the aftermath of the news, Aston Villa CEO Purslow decided to provide supporters with a detailed update of the circumstances surrounding Grealish's departure via a broadcast on VillaTV.
He not only explained what happened throughout the process, including the player's "pivotal" release clause, but gave fans an insight into their strategy ahead of the new Premier League campaign, mentioning new signings Danny Ings, Leon Bailey and Emi Buendia.
This is brilliant communication between the club and fan. Other clubs should take note.
Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow updated supporters this evening on the circumstances surrounding the departure of Jack Grealish.- Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) August 5, 2021
Here is his broadcast on VillaTV. pic.twitter.com/7wqh5Vs64R
Explaining the situation in full, Purslow says: "Jack wanted to be certain that if at any point a Champions League club came in for him and Aston Villa was not in that competition, that we would not stand in his way.
"For that reason, we agreed to incorporate a so-called release clause into his contract. Our board set this clause at a value of £100million, knowing that would be, by some way, a record price for a British footballer and also a record fee for any player bought by a Premier League club.
"Put another way, we set the value at a level we hoped would not be met, but which would reflect his truly unique value to Aston Villa."
This is the way to deliver news to fans, even if it might be bad news. Be open and honest with them. Well played. https://t.co/AEXmDVim9y- Gary Lineker :blue_heart: (@GaryLineker) August 5, 2021
This is a model of how to communicate with fans. Transfer details are usually treated as highly secret. This is so refreshing https://t.co/uh6iQve4q9- Stephen Pollard (@stephenpollard) August 5, 2021
Despite interest from a number of clubs, none of them met the £100 million release clause but after "many hours of discussions", Grealish requested that Villa exercise the clause when Manchester City bid the necessary funds to make a deal possible.
Purslow added: "Ultimately, he said it boiled down to wanting to play Champions League football now. Most importantly for our supporters tonight, I want you all to be reassured that the board, [manager] Dean Smith, [sporting director] Johan Lange and I obviously knew this day might come and we have planned accordingly."
That plan, of course, included the signings of Ings, Bailey and Buendia.
Purslow mentions the club hope to have "reduced an overdependency on one brilliant footballer" with three new additions, adding: "There is real depth and breadth to our squad with these new players and the returning Ashley Young joining last season's outstanding signings, all of whom have settled brilliantly."
Thoughts on Purslow's statement to fans about the Grealish situation? Should other chief executive's do the same?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Featured Image Credit: Aston Villa/Manchester City - Twitter
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