Shaun Wright-Phillips. Adam Johnson. Scott Sinclair. Jack Rodwell. Gareth Barry. Wayne Bridge. James Milner. Joe Hart.
All players signed by Manchester City in the last 10 years. How many of these players have truly made an impact in Manchester and established themselves in the City side?
The rest generally spent their time on City’s book alternating between the bench and the sofa. In short, City have a record of signing English players and then not playing them.
In the last 24 hours, Fabian Delph has made the brave move of rejecting a move to Manchester City, and the question we must ask is: has Delph made the right decision?
I’m saying yes.
You see, Delph is good, but is he good enough for a side that needs to challenge on both domestic and European fronts next season?
This is not a question we can answer yet, but my suspicion that Delph would not even have had enough game-time next season to give us a genuine, qualified answer.
With Yaya Toure, Fernando and Fernandinho still at the club, not to mention David Silva and Samir Nasri, I would have been surprised to see Delph given a genuine run in the team, and had he failed to establish himself in the side, it seems likely that this would have significantly hamper his development.
If we look at Jack Rodwell and Adam Johnson as case studies, both players showed enormous promise when their careers began, and both men’s careers stalled almost to a standstill during their time at the Etihad.
As we know, Man City have a special focus on recruiting English players this year, for the simple reason that they have lost a number of their ‘homegrown’ players and have now fallen below the required number that they must have in their squad.
For this reason, City’s pursuit of Delph made perfect sense. After all, he’s a promising English player. But was it the right move for Delph?
Had Delph succumbed to the attraction of City, he could hardly have been blamed for wanting to better himself. After all, he currently captains a side that finished 17th last season, and after establishing himself in the England team, he clearly believes that he is good enough to play at the top level.
And he might well be. But what he has quite clearly realised is that should he go to a club like City, he may well not be given a chance to show it either way. Man City, and Chelsea too, have, in my opinion done a great deal to harm the development of English players in the Premier League; let’s hope Delph turns out to be a different story.