Delph originally insisted he was staying at Aston Villa. Mike Egerton
Change of heart

Less than a week after pledging his loyalty to Villa, Fabian Delph has joined Man City

City confirmed on their website that the 25-year-old had agreed a five-year contract.

ENGLAND MIDFIELDER FABIAN Delph is leaving Aston Villa to join Manchester City, the two Premier League clubs announced on Friday, just days after insisting he would be staying at Villa Park.

City confirmed on their website that the 25-year-old Delph had agreed a five-year contract at the Etihad Stadium and had completed a medical.

“Fabian Delph has exercised the release clause in his contract and will join Manchester City,” said Villa in a statement, with press reports saying they had received a fee of £8 million (11.5m euros).

Delph, who did not fly out for Villa’s pre-season training camp in Portugal as his wife is pregnant, will now be left to explain his sudden change of heart less than a week after issuing a strong statement via Villa’s website accompanied by a picture of him pointing to his captain’s armband.

“I’m aware there has been intense media speculation surrounding my future in the last 24 hours and I want to set the record straight,” Delph said last week.

“I’m not leaving. I’m staying at the football club and I can’t wait for the start of the season and captaining this great football club.”

Delph signed a new Villa contract earlier this year with his previous deal having been due to expire this summer, but the deal was understood to include a release clause which City met.

He began his career with Leeds United before joining Villa in 2009 as a teenager, and captained the Birmingham outfit last season under Tim Sherwood.

“Fabian Delph is an excellent player, and I am looking forward to working with him,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini said.

“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.”

His signing follows that earlier this week of Raheem Sterling, who joined City from Liverpool in a five-year deal worth an initial £44 million that could rise to £49 million.

He may not be the only major player to leave Villa this summer, with Liverpool seemingly determined to sign Belgium striker Christian Benteke, for whom they have reportedly made a £32.5 million bid.

- © AFP, 2015

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