It is not even mid-July but Manchester City are having a terrible time trying to sign English players this summer. First Liverpool will not budge from their £50 million valuation on Raheem Sterling and now England international Fabian Delph has turned down a chance to leave Aston Villa for the millions of City.
Everything seemed set for Delph to move to Manchester after City officially triggered the£ 8million release clause in Delph’s contract.
But the Etihad Stadium is where English midfielders go to rot on the bench as we have seen with Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell and after thinking it over, Delph decided that with the Euros coming up next season, a year on the bench at City would not be the best thing for his England career.
In a statement on the Aston Villa web site, the midfielder said:
“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.
“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.”
The lack of signings this summer will just increase the pressure on City sporting director Txiki Begiristain, who has failed to set the world alight with his transfers since coming into the role at the end of 2012 despite spending over £156m in the last two years. Of which Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho, who cost £30m might be the only purchase that could be considered a success.
City’s aging squad needs to get younger and more athletic. But so far Begiristain has been able to close the deal for either of their top targets – Paul Pogba or Raheem Sterling – or even Delph.
For City sporting director Brian Marwood recently emphasised the difficulty of Begiristain’s job saying:
“Seven years ago when I came here, we were trying to build a team to be competitive, to win the league and do well in the Champions League,” he said.
“At that time we were asking players to buy into the vision of what the owners were trying to do. Now we have something we can show them – the stadium, the CFA and a cabinet full of trophies.
“But with the players we are going for we are at the table with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea. That is tough competition.
“Txiki is working really, really hard to make sure the targets we are looking for are ones who will come to the club and take us to the next level.”