Everton announced the arrival of Fabian Delph – who had just one year remaining on his contract with Manchester City – last week for a fee that could eventually rise to £10m.
The Yorkshireman’s utility was a valuable asset to Pep Guardiola during a period of time in which Benjamin Mendy has suffered with a multitude of injury problems.
He was deployed at left-back for much of the 2017/18 campaign and made 22 league appearances, establishing himself as a popular character in the dressing room while thriving away from his favoured central midfield position.
Anybody who has watched the Amazon docu-series ‘All or Nothing’, which follows the Citizens’ title success during that season, will know exactly how important Delph was behind the scenes, with the former Aston Villa man regularly filmed hyping up his teammates at half-time or prior to kick-off.
The Toffees newbie’s passion for the game is epitomised by his comments concerning Gareth Southgate and the rest of England’s coaching staff, which he made ahead of the UEFA Nations League semi-final earlier this summer.
While speaking to The Guardian, Delph said: “So if they (England coaches) tell you to run through a brick wall, you’re going to run through a brick wall. You’re going to do everything that you can for these people.”
Marco Silva will surely be hoping that Delph reserves a similar vein of respect and boundless dedication for him next season.
The Toffees faithful will be hoping that the versatile midfielder can install a similar attitude into the Goodison Park dressing room and, perhaps most importantly of all, share their hatred of Liverpool.
Having played for both Leeds United and City, loathing the neighbour across Stanley Park should come naturally.
Meanwhile, with question marks remaining over the future of Idrissa Gueye, who has been repeatedly linked with a move away from Merseyside since January, the injection of steel into Everton’s midfield is essential.
Delph absolutely loves flying into a tackle. He completed 2.1 tackles per game in the Premier League last season, though his eagerness is not always a blessing: see his clumsy challenge that saw City reduced to ten men against Wigan in the 5th round of the FA Cup in 2018 and his equally rash challenge that allowed Swansea to open the scoring in the quarter-final of the same competition earlier this year.
Barring the occasional anger-inducing moment of lunacy, his insatiable thirst for a thundering challenge will endear him to the Goodison Park faithful, who have surely missed Gareth Barry’s old school approach in the middle of the park since the veteran departed for West Brom in 2017.
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Barry’s vast experience was an invaluable asset at Everton and Delph’s can prove to be so too.
The 5ft 9 utility player has 20 England caps and 169 Premier League games under his belt and has played at the elite level of club and international football.
If Silva’s Toffees are to assail the top six, they may need players who have been there before and are capable of thriving under pressure.
Delph might have won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two Carabao Cups during his four years at the Etihad Stadium, but he could yet enjoy another glistening chapter in a darker shade of blue.