Despite the Mirror heavily linking Fabian Delph with a move away from Aston Villa in the January transfer window, the England international somewhat surprisingly stayed at the club and put pen to paper on a new and improved four-and-a-half year contract to keep him at Villa Park.
Although Delph showed the sort of loyalty that we don’t see to often with professional footballers these days, did the 25-year-old make the wrong call by staying at Villa? Not many players would shun the chance of joining a Liverpool or a Tottenham Hotspur at present, but that’s exactly what he did in January.
Instead, the box-to-box midfielder decided to stay in the Midlands and fight for Premier League survival. Since Delph signed his new contract at Villa Park, the Villans have lost all three subsequent league games, scoring just once in the process. They have dropped into the relegation zone, sacked Paul Lambert and appointed ex-Tottenham Hotspur interim manager Tim Sherwood – it’s all happening at Aston Villa. It’s fair to say that since the former Leeds man pledged his future at Villa Park, things haven’t exactly gone to plan.
But in the wake of the managerial change at Villa, there certainly seems to be a renewed sense of optimism and hope surrounding the club. It was plain for all to see that Lambert just wasn’t the right man to take the Villans forward, and, in fact, they were going backwards at a worrying rate of knots.
Tim Sherwood will know it won’t be an easy task to keep Aston Villa in the Premier League, but he certainly talks a great game, and you know he’s sure to give 100% to the cause. The new Villa boss needs all of his senior players to now stand up and be counted – none more so than his stand-in skipper Delph – who has almost single-handedly dragged Villa out of the mire at times this season.
After picking up just one Premier League win in 11 games, they have dropped to 18th in the league table. The last time they tasted victory in the top flight was way back in early December when they saw off bottom-placed Leicester City 2-1 at Villa Park. Since then, they have only managed to score two goals, and have lost seven of those encounters.
Villa’s alarming slump makes you wonder whether Delph, who can undoubtedly play at one of the Premier League’s top clubs, may live to regret his loyal decision to stay at Villa Park. I suppose he’s loved at the club, and he would probably have been a small fish in a big pond elsewhere, which could have possibly swayed his decision to stay.
It’s imperative for a club the size of Aston Villa that they not only survive the drop, but they kick on and start progressing going forward. And if one thing’s for sure, it’s that if Villa do stay up, you can guarantee that Fabian Delph would have had an awful lot to do with it – as Villa’s standout performer this season has become priceless to the club.