Belfast Telegraph

Manchester City U-turn was my hardest decision ever: Fabian Delph

By Carl Markham

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 yesterday 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, saying: "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 said the "football opportunity" that joining City will present eventually persuaded him to make the move from Villa.

He said: "Leaving Aston Villa Football Club is the hardest decision I've ever had to make.

"I've had some amazing times and made some great friends during my time at the club and I'll always be thankful to them for giving me the opportunity to play in the Premier League.

"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.

"When I was made captain of Villa it was a huge honour for me and I took the responsibility incredibly seriously. I signed my new contract last season with the view of staying at the club for the duration of the deal and never with the intention to leave a year later.

"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.

"I've experienced some incredible low times in my career with injuries and at one point even questioned whether I would even return to Premiership level. Despite that, I've always been 100 per cent committed to improving my game and developing as a player and a person.

"I have been immensely proud to captain such a great club and want to thank everyone at Aston Villa, most importantly the fans. I am now excited for the future with Manchester City and helping the club to succeed."

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