Fabian Delph performs U-turn and quits Villa for Man City

Manchester City signed England international Fabian Delph from Aston Villa on Friday, with the midfielder performing a dramatic U-turn a week after assuring fans he would be staying at Villa Park.

AFP| Last Updated: Jul 18, 2015, 09:22 AM IST
Fabian Delph performs U-turn and quits Villa for Man City

London: Manchester City signed England international Fabian Delph from Aston Villa on Friday, with the midfielder performing a dramatic U-turn a week after assuring fans he would be staying at Villa Park.

Delph has signed a five-year contract, the twice Premier League champions said in a statement. 

The 25-year-old was thought to be close to moving to City last week when reports said the north west club had triggered a release clause in his contract, but he issued a statement stating his desire to remain at Villa. 

Delph, however, has now changed his mind and arrives at the Etihad Stadium for a fee reported to be in the region of 8 million pounds ($12.5 million).

"Leaving Aston Villa is the hardest decision I`ve ever had to make," he said in a statement.

"My decision to stay initially was purely based on the emotion and feelings that I hold for the club rather than looking at the football opportunity that had been placed in front of me.

"I am now excited for the future with Manchester City."

Delph moved to Villa from Leeds United in 2009, making 128 appearances. He made his England debut against Norway last year and now has six caps.

"Fabian Delph is an excellent player and I am looking forward to working with him," City manager Manuel Pellegrini told the club`s website (www.mcfc.com).

"He has made a huge impact in recent seasons at Aston Villa, and is now one of the brightest young midfielders in the Premier League.

"Fabian has tremendous skill and energy and the fact that he has become a regular member of the England squad is further evidence of his progress over the past few seasons. 

"At just 25 years old, he still has his best years ahead of him."

With Premier League rules demanding clubs have eight home-grown players if they want to have a squad of 25, the clamour for top local talent has never been so intense. 

City began the close season with only goalkeeper Joe Hart, full back Gael Clichy and back-up keeper Richard Wright meeting the criteria to count as home-grown, leaving five vacant spots.

They have since signed Raheem Sterling from Liverpool in a deal worth up to 49 million pounds. 

The combative midfielder will travel to Australia over the weekend where he will join his new team mates on City`s pre-season tour.