Delph or Sterling: Who made the right Manchester City choice?
With the alluring temptation of regularly challenging for silverware and competing in Europe’s elite club competition, Manchester City can attract many world-class stars to their ranks, but the Sky Blues recently faced both rejection and acceptance in the transfer market.
Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling has long been pushing for move away from Anfield and his wish is close to being met, after the Reds accepted a reported £49m bid from City (12/5 with Coral to win 2015/16 title).
Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph, meanwhile, resisted the temptation of Manuel Pellegrini’s side, opting to decline such an offer and stay put in the West Midlands, but which England international has made the right career move?
Leeds United academy product Delph was widely expected to arrive on the blue half of Manchester this summer, with Tim Sherwood having left out the 25-year-old from the Villans’ pre-season training squad which travelled to Portugal (4/1 for top 10 finish).
However, the Villa captain made the decision to remain in claret and blue, after signing a new four-and-a-half deal in January, following advice from new teammates Micah Richards and Scott Sinclair, who endured tough spells at City.
“I want to set the record straight,” stated Delph. “I’m not leaving. I’m staying at the football club and I can’t wait for the start of the season and captaining this great football club.”
Richards came through the Sky Blues academy and looked to be heading for a successful career for both club and country with his dominant displays in defence, but he perhaps became a victim of the vast influx of wealth at City.
Delph could have seen his previously possible switch of allegiances rehearsed in Sinclair’s lacklustre stint in Manchester, with the winger having moved to City after rising to prominence with Swansea City. The previous Swans wideman made just two Premier League starts after joining in August 2012, going on to endure several loans spells as well.
Both Richards and Sinclair warned their skipper about a potentially fatal career move to City, wise words which seemingly were enough to persuade Delph to stay true to his current colours, as he hopes to enjoy another successful campaign before Euro 2016 next summer (12/1 England win).
Former City midfielder Jack Rodwell is another whose career hit a stumbling block at the Etihad, after arriving from Everton, where he became a growing star with his influential central performances. In a familiar mould to Delph, Rodwell’s time in sky blue was disappointing before eventually sealing a welcomed move to Sunderland, something Villa’s captain will surely have taken into consideration.
Although, on the other side of the coin, the Bradford-born midfielder’s decision could be seen as a possible lack of ambition at club level, with silverware highly unlikely at Villa Park, despite an FA Cup final outing last term.
In a complete contrast to Delph, Sterling’s approach to wanting out of Merseyside damaged his reputation, appearing as a contract rebel who had a pay rise firmly in his sights from last season’s crucial run-in.
Though, with Liverpool having finished well off the pace for a title triumph in fifth last term, Sterling will now undoubtedly enter the ranks of a side set to push for success domestically and potentially in Europe, finally.
At the age of 20, Sterling, who will see his wages rocket from the initial £100k-a-week he was offered by Brendan Rodgers to remain at Anfield, will now become the most expensive Englishman in history by arriving at the Etihad.
With such mammoth expectations upon his young shoulders, Sterling must hit the ground running next season in sky blue, having forced through his desired move, if he is to warrant his incredible price-tag.
Whether Sterling’s fate will ultimately follow a similar path as previous English starlets to arrive at City is questionable, with the talent he possesses easily capable of helping him succeed, but it could simply become a tricky campaign if the going gets tough.
City’s new attacker will surely have plenty of chances to lift trophies with City, but a poor start to his time at the club could see a complete derailing of his career, potentially following a familiar trend of faltering Englishman to don sky blue.
Delph, however, has proved he has the commitment and drive to fight for his current side, desired qualities that will undoubtedly prove more attractive to possible future suitors and of course his national coach Roy Hodgson.
So who has made the right career move during this summer transfer window? Only the final Premier League table and amount of silverware earned will tell come May 2016, when Delph and Sterling’s decisions could prove costly or right on the money.