Manchester City ecstatic as Fabian Delph, ‘one of the brightest young midfielders’ joins on

Fabian Delph signed for Manchester City on Friday, saying he was ready for 'the challenge of playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world'.

Fabian Delph and Aston Villa reached the FA Cup final in 2014/15. Stu Forster / Getty Images
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Manchester City bolstered their ranks with the signing of England international Fabian Delph from Aston Villa on Friday, after the midfielder performed a dramatic U-turn having said last week he would be staying at Villa Park.

Delph has signed a five-year contract at the Etihad Stadium, the twice Premier League champions said in a statement.

The 25-year-old was thought to be close to moving to City last week when reports said the club had triggered a release clause in his contract, but he issued a statement stating his desire to remain at Villa.

Delph, however, has now completed an about turn and arrives at the Etihad Stadium for a fee reported to be in the region of £8 million (Dh45.8).

“Fabian Delph is an excellent player and I am looking forward to working with him,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini told the club’s website.

“He has made a huge impact in recent seasons at Aston Villa, and is now one of the brightest young midfielders in the Premier League.

“Fabian has tremendous skill and energy and the fact that he has become a regular member of the England squad is further evidence of his progress over the past few seasons.

“At just 25 years old, he still has his best years ahead of him.”

Delph himself said in a statement that while leaving Villa “is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to me” but that he felt compelled “to compete for major trophies and to play in the Champions League”.

He also confirmed he rejected City’s initial overtures.

“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.

“I’ve proved that I can play at the very top level with England and believe I owe it to myself to take the challenge of playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world in Manchester City.

“I am now excited for the future with Manchester City and helping the club to succeed in the coming season and beyond.”

With Premier League rules demanding clubs have eight home-grown players if they want to have a squad of 25, the clamour for top local talent has never been so intense.

City began the close season with only goalkeeper Joe Hart, full back Gael Clichy and back-up keeper Richard Wright meeting the criteria to count as home-grown, leaving five vacant spots.

They have since signed Raheem Sterling from Liverpool in a deal worth up to £49m.

Delph moved to Villa from Leeds United in 2009, making 128 appearances. He made his England debut against Norway last year and now has six caps.

The combative midfielder will travel to Australia over the weekend where he will join his new team mates on City’s pre-season tour.

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