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Delph buyout clause - what to think?

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The transfer rumour mill has cranked up into full-gear around Aston Villa once again this week with a couple of reports on a buy-out clause in Fabian Delph's contract.

First the Daily Mirror reported that there was a £10 million buy-out clause in his contract which Manchester City were looking to activate. Then the Telegraph's John Percy followed up, claiming it to be only £8 million but only for clubs "in European competition" and also citing Man City as the interested team.

Reasons it could be true:

- Two journalists are reporting substantially the same story, and John Percy is the Telegraph's Midlands reporter, not just a tabloid bullshit-spouter.

- Delph's contract renewal when he was set to leave on a free this summer was a huge surprise. A buy-out clause would go a long way to explaining why he was happy to sign again.

- There's been no outright denial from the club or Delph, in contrast to Tim Sherwood's statement on Christian Beneteke's £32.5 million release clause.

Reasons it could be false:

- Why the discrepancy between the £10 million in the Mirror and the £8 million in the Telegraph?

-This could be a misinterpretation of a buy-out clause in the case of Villa being relegated, which was widely assumed to be part of the new contract.

-Some of the other media outlets have put out conflicting reports, including the Telegraph itself and Sky Sports.

We should be grateful to Delph, no matter what

With the limited information we have, this rumour could be constructed however you want. A large part of it makes sense, a large part of it doesn't.

The gutting part of it is of course the idea that the huge show of loyalty, the justification that Delph wanted to pay the club back for supporting him through injuries and didn't feel right walking away for nothing, was just that - a show.

The idea that Man City might be the club who benefit, in their search for English players to boost their quota, is especially sickening. Delph is worth £15-20 million under ideal circumstances and he should go to a team that can develop him properly, where he'll play a key role, if he doesn't stay at Villa.

But a fan's idea of the 'fair value' for a player simply is not the same as the real world of transfers. Delph could easily have gone on a free this summer and if Villa get £8 million or £10 million or even £5 million it's still more than we might have ended up with. Had he forced the issue in the January transfer window, we might have got the same kind of amount and relegated as well.

And if Delph believes that he can make it at Man City, no fan can tell him differently - Villa fans have been telling everyone else that he's fantastic for years, do we now turn around and say "well you're not that great"?

My personal hope is that Delph doesn't go, that he leads Villa for at least one more season away from the relegation battle and then he moves onto a side where he can really shine. If he does go this summer, I hope it's for more money than this and to a side where he'll develop properly. But if he does go for £8 million and to Man City, I'll still thank him for his service as one of the bright spots of a terrible few years.