Last season he was the darling of Villa Park, playing an inspirational role in captaining his side to the FA Cup Final, and helping them to Premier League survival. When he returned this season as a Manchester City player, he was roundly jeered and abused by the home support. Fabian Delph may be regretting his controversial move from the Midlands in the summer.
In January, Delph signed a new contract at Aston Villa, saying he was “a loyal person” and at the club “for the long-run”. This in itself came as a surprise. Delph was the top performer in a struggling Villa side and had been linked to bigger Premier League clubs such as Liverpool and Tottenham.
He seemed to further suggest his commitment to the club in the summer when, after rumours that he had agreed to join City emerged, he released a statement again repeating that he was a “loyal player” and that he loved the club. Three days later, he completed a move to the Etihad Stadium.
Villa fans, and many others, saw this as the ultimate betrayal. His decision to go back on the promise that he made to the club didn’t go down well with football supporters up and down the country, who believed he showed unprofessionalism and a lack of respect for the club.
The move to Manchester City hasn’t been a success. An injury affected start to the season has seen him make only nine Premier League appearances, only two of which have been starts. He is fourth in line for a centre midfield spot in Manuel Pellegrini’s side, behind Yaya Toure, Fernandinho and Fernando. Even when he started a big game against Arsenal, he played on the left of midfield, and had very little input on the game.
Given his former side’s position this season, he may still be happy with his decision to leave Villa, but he may wish to reconsider his decision to head to Manchester. With an £8 million release clause in his contract, it would have been possible for almost any Premier League team to afford him.
His move to Manchester City was seen as one for financial gain, especially after he committed his future to Villa in January. His lack of football will not only bring him dissatisfaction, but it may hamper his chances of playing in the European Championships in France this summer.
If he had planned to leave Villa, he would have allowed his contract to run out in the summer. This makes it even more likely that the move to City was just a heat of the moment call based on his financial gain. Had he considered what it would mean for him in terms of first-team opportunities, it is unlikely he would have moved to the Etihad Stadium.