Paul Pogba is the chief transfer target for at least four high-ranking European clubs this summer, but as Manchester City fall behind Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid in the battle to land the Frenchman, the Citizens have found a replacement closer to home.
The Catalan Champions League winners have reportedly opened negotiations with the athletic former Manchester United man already, leaving the rest of the player’s suitors to re-evaluate where they are going to find a new central midfielder from.
In City’s case, Aston Villa star Fabian Delph has been identified as Manuel Pellegrini’s new target. Although the England international has only recently put pen to paper on an extended contract in the Midlands, City look certain to throw enough cash at Villa to render that fact unimportant.
A consistent level of strong performances have not only made Delph a regular in Roy Hodgson’s England teams, but have attracted the interest of one of the division’s heaviest hitters.
Tim Sherwood won’t want to lose another central midfielder so soon after failing to make Tom Cleverley’s loan move to Aston Villa permanent and clearly rates Delph highly, having dubbed the 25-year-old “the best midfielder in the country” after a 3-2 win over Everton last season.
However, if City lodge a bid in the region of £25m for the former Leeds man, then Sherwood would be hard-pushed to turn the offer down considering he has his own squad-strengthening procedures to undertake.
While Delph’s consistency, potential and energetic game clearly appeal to a City outfit that were left underwhelmed by current central-midfield incumbents Fernando and Fernandinho, Delph’s nationality is also a major boon.
City need to buy English in order to meet homegrown requirements and have already bid £40m for Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling to help solve that issue.
Pellegrini’s side are rated as 11/4 chances to win the Premier League title this season after finishing last term eight points adrift of Chelsea in second place.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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