Miss Dinah Washington said it best. What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours. That song must have been playing on a loop in Fabian Delph’s headphones over the last week as he flipped and flopped more times than a politician over a move to Manchester City. The England midfielder’s on off switch to City is finally over after agreeing to join the club for a fee of £8 million just days after he pubically stamped his colours to the Aston Villa mast. Despite this and after releasing a statement of his own accord stating he had no intention of leaving for City, Delph will be wearing the Blue of Manchester City next season, penning a five year contract. Its a embarrassing time for Delph who must be looking back at his comments from Saturday with some regret.
“I am a loyal person and committed to my future” he said before finishing his quote by saying “I love the club, I love being here and this is my club”. That was back in January when he signed a new four year contract with Villa much to the delight of the fans who saw Delph as a more than their inspirational captain. Unlike others in the game, Delph played for the shirt not for money and his determination to make Villa a success showed with every performance. He loved the club and they loved him and more so with every transfer he rejected. When Tim Sherwood arrived shortly after Delph has signed his new deal, he spoke passionately of the player he saw as the best embodiment of the ambitions of the club. Delph was a Villa man through and through and that wouldn’t change.
Fast forward six months and Manchester City found themselves in a pickle. Having let James Milner, Frank Lampard, Micah Richards and Derek Boyata leave, their required British player allocation of eight was now down to just three. City quickly identified a list of British players they wanted to buy including Fulham’s Patrick Roberts, Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling and Delph. The first approach for Delph came early on the 10th July with City agreeing to a fee with Villa, partly thanks to a minimum fee release clause inserted into Fabian’s contract in January. Delph with his agent went to meet City’s representatives to discuss personal terms with a proposed medical to take place the next day. But during the course of that meeting, Delph did not like what he heard and rejected the move. It’s rumoured that he was told that he would be a squad player rather than a starter which did not appeal to the player. On Saturday, Delph released a statement saying that he had rejected the move, was staying and was looking forward to captaining Villa next season. His set the record statement was in response to negative press surrounding his potential move but now that it was off, he wanted to reassure the Villa faithful that he was committed to the cause. Well for a week at least. Fast forward to last Friday and Delph arriving in Manchester to complete his medical and sign the paperwork needed to make him a City player.
It’s a bitter blow to Villa as they prepare for the new season. Losing your captain is one thing but losing your star striker as well is another. The news that Liverpool had activated Christian Benteke’s contract release clause with a massive £32.5 million bid came on the same day as Delph departed made Friday as miserable day for the Villa fans. Manager Tim Sherwood now faces an uphill struggle to repair his squad and replace two crucial components of his team. He will have £40 million in the bank to go an do so but the bedding in period for those new players and the potential disruption of Delph and eventually Benteke’s departures on the squad wont be know for some time to come. The reason for Delph’s dramatic change of heart is still unknown but its likely that the England midfielder will break his silence shortly and give his side of the story. Whether City were able to satisfy Delph’s concerns about potential lack of playing time by offering him either more reassurance or more money will never be known. Regardless of what Delph says, he will be due for a very hostile reception when City travel to Villa Park in early November with few fans likely to welcome him back after the way that he has handled this move.