Oh Fabian, Fabian, Fabian; what will we do with you?
This time last week, I wrote a piece praising the (then) Villa midfielder for bravely turning down a contract from oil-rich Man City. I wrote that Delph was a breath of fresh air in a mercenary industry. I wrote that Delph had escaped the plight that has affected almost all British players who have signed for the Citizens in the last 10 years.
A week later, it’s all changed.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last seven days, Fabian Delph is now a Manchester City player. Less than seven days after issuing a public statement pledging his loyalty towards Aston Villa and expressing his excitement about playing at Villa Park next season as the Villains’ captain. As far as U-turns go, this one is pretty impressive.
Only those involved will know precisely what has gone on behind closed doors here, but one thing I can be absolutely clear on: I think Delph has made a massive mistake.
Let’s forget for a second that the midfielder will probably have doubled his wages by moving to the Etihad. That’s by the by.
What isn’t by the by is the fact that Delph is a very promising young player, but – and here’s the key – he’s a long way from the finished article. A move to City would make sense if he was the complete footballer. But let me be absolutely, categorically clear, in terms of ability, rather than potential, Fabian Delph is a very, very long away from the best midfielders in the Premier League, which, let’s be honest, he would need to be to get in the team at City.
There are a number of pundits suggesting that City will deploy Delph instead of Fernando or Fernandinho in midfield, but if they do that, I can pretty much guarantee that they won’t win the title this season. Once again, Delph is good, but right now, he’s not that good.
We all know why City have gone for Delph. He was available for £8m – a steal for an English player these days – and City needed some more home-grown players. Anyone pretending that it’s more than that is simply deluding themselves.
So what happens now? Well, if I get my crystal ball out, a number of things.
Firstly, most Villa fans will hate Delph for all eternity. Stands to reason, really.
Secondly, Delph’s career will at best, stall; at worst, it will be destroyed by game after game on the bench.
Thirdly, City will have ruined yet another promising British player.
Bit sad really. But hey, at least Fabian’s going to be richer.