Well, Fabian Delph is probably moving to Manchester City.
That’s what the Birmingham Mail’s Gregg Evans reported, with the England international leaving for just £8 million.
Now, inherently, this is not a good thing. A player of Delph’s calibre and promise could easily go for £20 million on the open market, and we’re selling him for just 40% of that total.
But, of course, it brings up a much bigger point to look at: Aston Villa are nothing short of terrible when it comes to handling players’ contracts.
Villa are getting such a low return on their club captain because they allowed his contract to run down, only signing the player in January, months before he was set to become available to any club on the planet for absolutely nothing. It took all the leverage away from the club, and if Delph wanted to, he could’ve refused a new deal, and signed wherever at the end of the season — it could’ve been City if they still had interest, or a club like Spurs or Liverpool, or perhaps even a club like Swansea City or Southampton. Maybe he could’ve gone abroad, too.
At the end of the day, Fabian Delph would’ve certainly had suitors at the end of the season, or, if all else failed, I’m sure Villa would’ve been perfectly fine bringing him back after he assessed his options on the market.
Which is why — despite his exit — his contract signing back in January shows so much loyalty on account of the outgoing club captain.
He could’ve walked for absolutely nothing, but at the end of the day, he’ll fetch the club a fee, and still get the move he wanted. It’s a solution that works well for both parties, and affords the player a chance to chase his ambitions, something that wasn’t realistically happening at Aston Villa.
Now, many will bring up his comments when he signed, talking about "loyalty" amongst other things, as reason to dislike the guy.
I mean, I guess so?
I’m not one to read much into what players say, especially when everything is monitored by the public relations machine that exists in sport today. I imagine those comments came out of something like this from Jack Woodward:
"Yeah, mate, just get on there, tell everyone you love the club and are loyal or whatever, and it’ll make everyone happy!"
And who the hell am I to say where a man should seek his employment? If I’m working in Indianapolis, my home town, and a group in New York comes along and says they’ll double my wages, give me an office on the 50th floor of a high rise, and allow me to be one of three or four guys doing the same job on my level, I’ll probably take it.
Much like James Milner and Gareth Barry before him, Fabian Delph is good enough to play for Manchester City, and will take the move in stride. I think he’ll be perfectly fine there, play in the Champions League, and lift a trophy or two in the next few years.
He’ll still be in the England XI for EURO 2016, and he won’t be crawling back to a mid-table side in 12 months because it "didn’t work out."
Any Villa fan should know he’s of the quality.
But by re-upping with the club in January, Delph was able to get himself the move he wanted, and Villa some cash to spend.
When you factor in a potential long-run wage difference, it’s pretty much enough to bring in his replacement, Idrissa Gueye from Lille, who should be making a £9 million move any day now.
That’s pretty cool — and loyal — of Fabian Delph.