Fabian Delph caused controversy last week after his transfer U-turn. He originally turned down a move to Manchester City to stay at Aston Villa. In a statement released via Aston Villa’s website he said, “I’m not leaving. I’m staying at the football club.” He stayed for a further six days before moving to the blue side of Manchester for £8 million pounds.
Delph started his career at Bradford City; his stay there was short lived however as in September 2001 Leeds United signed him after former Bradford manager Paul Jewell recommended the then 11-year-old to Whites academy coach Gregg Abbott.
It was in 2007 that Delph made his senior debut at the age of 17. Manager Dennis Wise gave him his big day in the final game of the 2006-2007 season against Derby County. The following season he made two more substitute appearances and was awarded his first professional contract in January 2008.
The 2008-2009 campaign was really the breakthrough one for Delph. In November the Englishman made his England Under-21 debut against Czech Republic, before going on to make 44 league appearances, scoring six times, to become an important player in the Leeds side.
His form for the Yorkshire club attracted admirers from Premier League outfits. Leeds went on to lose the play-off semi final against Millwall and speculation arose of Delph’s future. Arsene Wenger was reported to have made a £6 million offer before United accepted a £8 million bid from Aston Villa. On the 3rd of August 2009, his move to Villa Park was complete.
Delph made his full Premier League debut against Wigan on August 15th 2009. The game finished 2-0 to Wigan, however, the Villa faithful saw potential in their new midfielder. It was a slow introduction to life at a top flight club but in January 2010 he scored his first goal for the Midlands side in an FA Cup tie against Brighton.
However, he wasn’t allowed to kick on from that point after being carried off on a stretcher during training with a cruciate knee ligament injury in April. Almost 10 months later, in February 2011, Delph made his return to football, replacing Nathan Baker at left-back against Blackburn Rovers.
Despite his lack of appearances, Delph signed a new deal in March 2011 with Aston Villa which would keep him at the club until 2015. He struggled to break into the first-team though and in January 2012 was loaned back to his old club Leeds United. Unfortunately injuries hit again, Delph suffered an ankle problem in United’s defeat to Coventry and returned to Villa for treatment.
Since then though, the combative midfielder has gone from strength to strength. The 2012 -13 Premier League season was where Delph really made his name and established himself as a regular in Paul Lamberts side. He made 25 league appearances and became a fan favorite. The following term he went on to make 34 Premier League appearances, scoring three goals.
Two impressive campaigns saw him Delph get his first England senior call up in August of last year, leading to a debut against Norway and surprise start against Switzerland in September.
Roy Hodgson is a fan of the player and he has been a England regular ever since. Following that boost the Villa captain flourished in many of his 28 Premier League appearances and scored in the FA Cup semi-final defeat of Liverpool.
His move to Manchester City will go down as one of the most contentious transfers of all time, however, if he becomes a regular, the 25-year-old has a big future ahead of him at both club and international level.