Media reports claiming Manchester City are preparing to expose an unfathomably low release clause in Fabian Delph’s Aston Villa contract, will no doubt bring fans of the Midlands club out in hives.
It was only a few months ago in January when Villa ended a raft of unwanted speculation over their star midfielder by pinning Delph down to a new and improved four-year deal.
However, Man City’s apparent thirst for English talent means Villa will now face a fresh barrage of speculation as it surfaces that Delph’s release clause is set at just £10m.
The again, if the player has any sense at all it should fizzle out to nothing once more. The lure of potential trophies is certainly there in moving to the Etihad considering the steady flow of silverware which has come about since the billionaire revamp.
Crucially, though, it’s the potential risk of Delph losing his place in Roy Hodgson’s England team that simply isn’t worth taking.
At Villa Park the team is built around the high-energy centre midfielder and he’s clearly thriving at a club where he’s free to express himself week in week out.
His eye-catching displays for Villa didn’t stop some raising an eyebrow when Hodgson placed him on the left-hand side of his preferred midfield diamond, though, at the onset of the Three Lions Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
It’s testament to Delph’s talents that he’s defied the notion that playing for a less-fashionable club means you cannot excel on the international stage, and his performances have justifiably kept him in the England side.
City may view the former Leeds man as a viable alternative to their current central options, but the Etihad has proven a graveyard for English talent in recent times, where Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair’s careers stalled badly.
Micah Richards and James Milner have also felt the squeeze of limited playing time thanks to an enormous squad packed to the rafters with highly-paid foreign talent.
Both have now left the club this summer. As it stands, Delph would be scrapping for a place alongside Yaya Toure, Fernandinho and Fernando at City while he’s guaranteed to start at Villa Park.
It’s not to say that Delph can’t secure a move to a top-four club eventually, possibly even City, but in with such a pivotal season for his international career ahead, it would be madness to jump ship at this point.
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