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Manchester City sign Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph after U-turn

Manchester City, 12/5 Premier League title second-favourites with Coral, have secured the £8m signing of Fabian Delph, after activating the Aston Villa captain’s release clause and the player making a sensational U-turn.

The 25-year-old has penned an five-year deal at the Etihad, just months after extending his contract with the Villans and mere days after he quashed speculation he was leaving for Man City.

“I’m not leaving, I’m staying at the football club,” said Delph in statement earlier in July, but the two-time Villa Player of the Season has had a miraculous change of heart.

“Leaving Aston Villa Football Club is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” Delph said upon signing for Man City. “As has been widely reported I initially turned down the opportunity to join Manchester City. That decision was purely down to the love I have for Aston Villa and its great supporters.

“When I was made captain of Villa it was a huge honour for me and I took the responsibility incredibly seriously. I signed my new contract last season with the view of staying at the club for the duration of the deal and never with the intention to leave a year later.

“My decision to stay initially was purely based on the emotion and feelings that I hold for the club and the people there that I would be walking away from – rather than looking at the football opportunity that had been placed in front of me.”
Some commentators have speculated this sea-change from Delph has come following news that Liverpool are willing to meet the £32.5m valuation of Tim Sherwood’s star striker Christian Benteke. Cashing in on him is thought to have been a factor in Man City resurrecting the Delph deal.

As an England international, with six Three Lions caps so far, Delph impressed enough this season at Villa Park to capture the attention of the Premier League’s elite.

Previously linked to Liverpool, Delph will now link-up with international teammate Joe Hart at the Etihad, as City attempt to add to their quota of homegrown players.

Adept in anchorman and box-to-box roles, Delph began his career as an attacking midfielder with Bradford City’s academy and Leeds United, but eventually began to thrive deeper upon switching to Villa, who he joined in 2009 from the Elland Road outfit.

Bradford-born Delph was a crucial component and key performer as Sherwood’s side clawed their way out of the relegation zone last campaign, and the Villans, who also lost on-loan midfielder Tom Cleverley to Everton, will miss his leadership and bite in the middle of the park.

At Man City, the Yorkshireman will be competing with the likes of Brazilian pair Fernando and Fernandinho for a starting spot, although the Citizens’ most recent English recruits have tended to struggle for game time, with James Milner having already exited the Etihad on a Bosman this summer.

New Villans signing and former City defender Micah Richards also recently weighed in on whether it would be wise for Delph to join Manuel Pellegrini’s men, with a space in England’s Euro 2016 squad up for grabs.

“If he’s going to be playing Champions League, I don’t know, but if he’s going there to be a squad player, then no. So if he gets assurances he’s going to play then the decision is his. I wouldn’t say don’t go to Manchester City, because if he’s playing well he could play.

“To be fair he has asked me what I think about the situation. I told him I can’t comment to be honest. I don’t want to say go there and then he [Pellegrini] doesn’t play him – he’ll be ringing me up afterwards!” added the 27-year-old.

More to follow.