Fabian Delph’s agent may have other ideas, but Chelsea will be the chief beneficiaries should his expected move to Manchester City come to fruition.
BBC West Midlands have reported that he is expected to join the Citizens later today in a deal worth around £8m after Delph failed to fly out with his Villa teammates for the club’s pre-season training camp in Portugal.
City’s need to satisfy homegrown player rules had been clear having sold Scott Sinclair and Joleon Lescott since last summer and lost James Milner to Liverpool on a free transfer.
Signing England-capped Delph is a step in the right direction in this regard, but news of the deal may have drawn a wry smile from Jose Mourinho and not just because their typically troublesome Villa Park visit will be that bit easier next term.
Just as they were last term, Manuel Pellegrini’s side are rated the biggest threat to Chelsea in the Premier League title race at 11/4.
However, while Delph is an international and has been a central cog of the Aston Villa midfield for several years, his acquisition does little to conspicuously boost the quality available to the City manager.
Chelsea, 27/20 title favourites, finished a comfortable eight points ahead of their closest pursuers last term.
The Blues should be immensely pleased by the fact that the focus of City’s summer transfer dealings seem to be on signing players based on their homegrown status rather than their ability – doing so means they are unlikely to improve.
Delph’s arrival is unlikely to be the end of the process either, with the Sky Blues expected to return to Liverpool with an offer closer to their £50m valuation of Raheem Sterling.
The Etihad outfit had previously pulled back from their pursuit of France international, Champions League finalist and winner of multiple Scudetti Paul Pogba due to the financial implications of any deal with Juventus and the player.
Yet they are willing to drop a financial fair play bothering bundle on Sterling, a talent far less proven and far less likely to drastically improve their first team.