Four Premier League destinations for England new boy Fabian Delph
Move over Christian Benteke. Aston Villa have a new prized asset in left-footed holding midfielder Fabian Delph following his impressive debut outings as a senior England player.
Club chairman Randy Lerner, who has put the West Midlands outfit up for sale, has recognised this, with reports suggesting Villa’s American owner is personally drawing up a new deal for 24-year-old Delph to ward off interest from other teams.
The truth is, however, being thrust centre stage into the Three Lions spotlight means suitors will come calling for Delph, and Coral experts have put their heads together to envisage where he could fit in to leading clubs.
Arguably playing his best football in formations which include a midfield diamond, Delph would join fellow England internationals Raheem Sterling, Rickie Lambert and Jordan Henderson at Anfield.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers could do with adding steel to the engine room, as rumours persist Brazilian anchorman Lucas Leiva needs a move to kick-start a stalled international career.
Steady pass-master Joe Allen presents a challenge to Delph playing on the left, but he could operate at the base of the diamond when Kop idol and Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard calls time on his career.
Reigning Premier League champions City are short of homegrown heroes. Joe Hart and James Milner are the only two England players involved in the first-team picture.
Frank Lampard is just at the Etihad to maintain his fitness ahead of the 2015 MLS season when he will play for New York City. Winger Scott Sinclair and reserve stopper Richard Wright are just on the books to make up the numbers.
Manuel Pellegrini has let other English talent, namely Micah Richards (Fiorentina on loan), Joleon Lescott (West Bromwich Albion) and Gareth Barry (Everton) leave City this summer. There is a shortfall, then, and left-footed Delph could present a credible option for midfield, as Fernandinho is 30 before the end of the season, while Lampard is only on loan and Javi Garcia was sold.
City have also purchased players for the so-called ‘English premium’ from Villa before. Delph would follow in the footsteps of Barry and James Milner in swapping the West Midlands for Manchester.
Arsene Wenger was in the market for a holding player over the summer, but found nobody amid concerns about the ageing legs of injured skipper Mikel Arteta. Delph could be yet another left-footed option for the Gunners, where he could forge a good understanding with fellow England international Jack Wilshere.
Like Arteta, French destroyer Mathieu Flamini is in his 30s, so a long-term solution to the anchorman position is needed. Wenger could alternatively convert Jack Wilshere, as choices further forward are bountiful. Delph, unlike the injury-prone homegrown Arsenal star, is good at putting runs of games together without breaking down.
Although Roberto Martinez landed Barry on a permanent basis from City following his loan spell at Goodison Park last season, the 33-year-old will see his powers wane over the course of his Toffees contract. Eyebrows were raised when the Everton manager handed the ex-England international a deal that ran three years.
There is a beautiful balance when everyone is fit at Goodison. James McCarthy joins Barry in sitting, freeing up England’s great hope Ross Barkley or standout Scotland performer Steven Naismith to support the striker. Delph could provide long-term left-footed continuity in a holding position within this side that values the best talent from the British Isles.