Can You Blame Fabian Delph for Holding Out? As Spurs Join Hunt For Him

By Chris Kemps



Fabian Delph, in some fans eyes, has already gone and is being labelled “disloyal” after the club has stuck by him through his injuries. They blame the “curse” of the England call-up that may well have played a part in the transfers of Barry, Downing, Milner and Young.

The ‘heading turning’ phenomenon dictates that once surrounded by their peers at international level, somehow they are convinced by the sirens already established in the squad that they deserve to be playing for England regularly, and their short careers should involve Champions League football every season, and that will take a move away from unfashionable Villa to one of the “big” clubs.

England Breakthrough

With Delph recently breaking into the England squad and with Spurs the latest club to be linked to the Villa midfielder in the press, despite earlier assurances (pre-England debut) that he would be keen to stay at Villa, Delph appears to be holding out on signing a new Villa contract.

Despite getting a new contract himself, Villa boss Paul Lambert has seemingly failed to land the main two contract renewals that the Villa fans were crying out for – Delph and Villa captain Ron Vlaar.

It was Martin O’Neill who brought Delph to the club in 2009, beating off stiff competition from other Premiership clubs. His first serious injury to his cruciate ligament came at the end of his first season and he was out for eight months. Delph has come into his own in Paul Lambert’s squad and despite his reputation for picking up some needless yellow cards, his goals against Southampton and Chelsea especially, plus the impression he could be part of a really good midfield with a little more investment, have made him a firm favorite. He is the current Supporters Player Of The Year.

Injury Thinking Time

His latest injury is a blow, especially if the press are to be believed that he was on the verge of signing a new deal before his shoulder surgery. This was very much a key season in terms of Delph maturing into a serious leader for Villa on the pitch. His best years are in front of them and fans were hoping to at least get a couple of those years at Villa Park.

Regardless of his contract status, he’s been missed in a more adventurous-looking midfield in the last few games where he would have flourished. But if worst comes to worst, he has been a good servant to the club for years. Losing him for £15m to say PSG would be a blow but losing him for free on a Bosman to a team in England already in better shape than Villa are would be a kick in the teeth and a real morale-sapping punch in the gut to the fans and the rest of the squad.

But it’s happened before. When the news broke about Mark Bosnich leaving for free (after the club had reportedly offered him to Liverpool for a cut-price £1m as his contract expired) it was bad enough, but to have him go to Manchester United was very hard to swallow. But that was after more than seven years of service and I’m sure fans weren’t too upset to see the move eventually turn into a nightmare for the (now-forgiven) Australian goalkeeper.

More recently, and just as critically, Juan Pablo Angel was allowed to leave for free to join the NY Red Bulls in MLS. He is the third-top scorer in the Premiership era for Villa after Dwight Yorke and Gabby Agbonlahor. While their reasons for wanting to leave were different (Bosnich wanted to win championships, Angel wanted to move closer to home) the effect on Villa’s finances was similar. Olof Mellberg was given nothing but well-wishes when he left on a free to Juventus and he left a big hole in the defense in his wake.

All of those three players it could be argued moved at the right time having proved themselves at Villa, yet with Delph there’s the feeling he’s only just finding his feet and living up to his potential.

If Delph stays, great. He’s a good player on the cusp of even better things. But if he goes, as some Villa fans have already decided he will (remember the shock when we saw that photo of Benteke and Lambert shaking hands over his new contract?) life will go on and another new star will be along before long. Of course, we will deride the state of modern football, but you can’t blame Delph for Villa’s current plight.


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  1. To quote Martin O’Neill “the lad is going to be a proper player” and guess what ?
    I’m not sure about the size of the deal he signed back in 2009 but under MON we were spending quite big although his price tag of 6 million has proved to be a wise investment………oh yeah I’m forgetting the bit where we’ve failed to see what MON seen back then and offered him an improved deal!

    • has anyone forgotten . Or could it be that the clubs critics need reminding of Delphs injuries . And telling that despite advances in medical science it can not perform miracle cures . Yes a lot of players do recover from injuries that a few decades ago were career ending , but a lot more never reach the full potential that was predicted before their injuries
      Oh and Delph’s injured again !
      Will he return ?
      We’ll have to wait and see but perhaps a new contract is the last thing on his mind whilest he fights to get fit !

  2. Well Mr Fox, if he does go. You need to work very hard to fix it. A certain Cleverley will need to be signed in Jan and we will have to get the players to move to the next level in the off season. As for Delph, well I am sorry for many reasons if he does move on, but don’t blame his ambition, though it’s hard to imagine 50k a week would be difficult to live on.

  3. What do I think ?
    1) Going to Spurs is not “Champs League every season”. Possibly why Benteke didn’t go last year.
    2) Its either Lambert or Delph. Change the manager and he might stay (tough decision, huh?)
    3) He’s worth more than the reported £50K he’s been offered..prob 10-15pc more.

    • But what fans calling for Lambert to go do not seem or want to realise is that it was Gabby & Delph who backed Lambert last season when his 2 former deputies tried to undermine him & derail the club . !
      And with fans calling for Lambert to go, that may be a factor leading to contracts not being signed !

  4. Word from the club is that Delph is not about to leave ! So could it be that he wants to concentrate on getting fit and performing better ?
    I’m not one of his fans as he loses the ball too often . And yes he does fight to get it back which it would seem is what get’s him on the team sheet wen fit . As for being an Engerland player it would seem that is something for the press to taunt Villa over !

  5. It’s disappointing, very disappointing.
    Delph should stay because Villa stuck by him through his injuries. That would seem the right thing to do.
    He’s not been the loyal servant that most of the others mentioned had been, as the writer says he’s only getting started at Villa.

    He should sign a bumper new contract simple as that, then if a club wants him they can pay the asking price, probably £15m-£20m or whatever. This is the kind of approach that Gareth Bale took at spuds. Perhaps loyalty is not dead in football??

    To leave on a Bosnich (Bosman) to a PL club would be a kick in the teeth.

    I’m sure the squad would get over it but it’s the wrong message. Sign a contract then get sold for tons of cash is the right message in terms of loyalty to the club.

  6. Fans should stop moaning about players that move on to bigger clubs. There is no loyalty in football and until villa get into the European competitions that will always be so. No one has mentioned Dwight York. Does anyone think that he did not end his career with brilliant results? Why complain when he would not have got that at Villa?

    Olof said that when he went to Italy. He liked Villa but he wanted the chance to win something. We can’t complain. Except to a managr who does not even offer us the dreamof cup success

    trevor fisher.

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