Aston Villa captain Fabian Delph’s attempt to follow in the tradition of Villa’s best midfielders in going to warm the bench at Manchester City was dealt a devastating blow today after he was alleged to have dramatically failed the club’s medical.
Delph had accepted the advances of the Manchester club after they triggered a supposed £8 million release clause in a four-and-a-half-year contract he signed for Villa back in January.
While City are known for paying six-figures-a-week wages to attract the best players in the game, the club doesn’t like to take chances on player’s fitness when making such an investment. As a result, their medicals are known to be the most strenuous in the Premier League.
There had been doubts about Delph’s overall fitness with the player only ever once completing over 25 league games in a season for Villa during his six seasons at the club. He managed 34 games in the 2013/14 season, which marks almost a third of his total 107 league appearances for the club.
Delph had turned up to Bodymoor Heath earlier than required this pre season to work on his fitness, when he became aware of City’s tougher than normal medicals after discussing his move with Villa’s new signing and former City player Micah Richards.
A friend of Delph informed MOMS: “Fab was initially under the impression that you didn’t need a medical if you were just joining City to warm the bench and collect the money.”
Despite talking to other clubs about a possible move, Delph chose City because he wanted to follow in the footsteps of both Gareth Barry and James Milner, and keep a Villa tradition going.
The Manchester club had pulled out all the stops to get their man, even agreeing to perform the medical in the Midlands in the same hospital Delph’s wife was due to give birth to the latest addition to the Delph family. The reason being, it would help Delph keep up his alibi for not being in Portugal with the rest of the Villa squad.
Delph had reportedly already told his Villa teammates and Villa CEO Tom Fox he was off, so was left with egg on his face when he received the results of his medical.
An insider at the Eithad informed MOMS that City were also disappointed in Delph’s medical result, as they will now have to further their search for home-based talent to fill their subs bench for the season ahead. He added, City would now have to reluctantly speak to the likes of Tom Huddlestone and Lee Cattermole to fill the void.
While being fit isn’t necessarily a requirement to sit on a bench, strict insurance conditions mean a medical has to be passed due to the wages that are paid at the Eithad.
While Villa supporters were understandably angry at Delph’s initial intentions after his loyalty rally call back in January, they welcomed his statement today pledging himself to lead Tim Sherwood’s team in hopefully what won’t be the club’s latest relegation battle.
“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,” said Delph, in his statement.
“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.”
While Villa had wanted to keep the details of Delph’s failed medical out of the public domain, they hope the threat of rigorous ball-breaking medicals at teams in European Competitions will dampen Christian Benteke’s desire to move from Villa Park.
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