Ex-Manchester City duo explain why Pep Guardiola prioritised Jack Grealish over Harry Kane

Manchester City prioritised Jack Grealish over Harry Kane because his contract contained a buyout clause, and thus City were able to complete the deal more easily.

That is according to former City defender Nedum Onuoha, who has been analysing his former club’s transfer window alongside ex-Citizens team-mate Micah Richards.

City had identified Grealish and Kane as their priority targets in the summer transfer window and as late as mid-August, it looked possible that they could capture both players.

Grealish was the first to be snapped up, owing to his £100million release clause, a contract stipulation Grealish personally requested last summer when signing a contract with Aston Villa. The maverick playmaker also recruited superagent Jonathan Barnett, with the foresight that he would want a swift negotiation in the event that a Champions League club came knocking this season.

Kane was next up on Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano’s list, with the England captain reportedly desperate for a move to Manchester. In an effort to engineer an exit away from Tottenham Hotspur, Kane reported back late for pre-season training, something Spurs chairman Daniel Levy fined him for.

However, Levy lived up to his reputation and proved to be a difficult negotiator, securing the services of his prized asset until at least the January window.

And former City favourites Onuoha and Richards have weighed in on why they believe it was decided to complete a deal for Grealish before Kane this summer.

When asked by Chris Sutton on BBC Radio 5Live’s Monday Night Club whether Kane should have been the priority, Richards replied: “It’s a great question. A lot of City fans have asked that same question.

“But when you look at it, Harry Kane is 27/28, Jack Grealish is 25 and can play an array of different positions. He can play on the left; he can play on the right; he can play number eight; he can play number ten.”

Richards’ former City teammate Onuoha then elaborated on the answer, suggesting there was a different reason why City completed the Grealish deal first.

“I think the Grealish and Kane situations are different because, with Grealish, the number is in the contract. That is the figure you have to hit to get Jack Grealish out of that situation,” he added.

“I think if Harry Kane had that number, maybe he would have gone first. But Harry Kane was a negotiation, there was a fee, and that fee could be anything. It could be £120m; it could be £200m, who knows?

“I think for Pep [Guardiola], he has kind of hinted at it. It makes me feel like he would have liked a striker but understands the whole season does not depend on getting one in this window.”

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