Fabian Delph completes U-turn with City switch

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Fabian Delph has signed a five-year deal with Manchester City after performing a U-turn on his initial decision to stay at Aston Villa.

The England midfielder completed a medical at City on Friday and is set to fly to Australia to join his new team-mates on their pre-season tour.

The 25-year-old had rejected City’s advances last weekend when he issued a statement insisting: “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 made 128 appearances for Villa, scoring eight goals, and received the first of his six England caps against Norway in September 2014.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini was delighted with the signing, telling City’s official website: “Fabian Delph is an excellent player and I am looking forward to working with him.

“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’s change of heart will dismay Villa, after he was handed the captain’s armband by boss Tim Sherwood following a consistent set of performances earlier this year.

Assistant boss Ray Wilkins had hailed Delph’s “fantastic” decision to apparently commit his future to the club last week.

Wilkins had said: “He could have gone to Manchester City for a lot of money but he wants 700 games and a good career. It’s rare in football to see that happen – I thought it was fantastic.”

And Delph is also facing a furious backlash from the Villa side with former striker Stan Collymore branding the player “an absolute disgrace” for performing such a quick U-turn on his public loyalty pledge.

Speaking before the deal was officially confirmed, Collymore told talkSport’s Drive programme: “He said twice now that he wants to stay at the club – nobody put a gun to his head.

“He said twice that he believes Villa is a great club that he wants to stay at… if he signs for Manchester City or any other club in the next few days then he’s an absolute disgrace.”

Frank Lampard, who had himself angered some at his former club Chelsea by joining City on loan shortly after signing for New York City FC, tweeted:

Delph called leaving Villa “the hardest decision I’ve had to make”.

Delph added in a statement: “My decision to stay initially was purely based on the emotion and feelings that I hold for the club and the people there that I would be walking away from – rather than looking at the football opportunity that had been placed in front of me.”

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