It took a while for Aston Villa to see the best of Fabian Delph, but 2013-14 was the season in which the 24-year-old midfielder finally appeared to realise his undoubted promise.
First bursting onto the scene with Leeds United in League One during the 2008-09 campaign, Delph would make 44 appearances over the course of the season to see his name linked to several Premier League sides, including Arsenal, Everton, Newcastle United and others.
With Villa eventually winning the race to his highly-covered signature the following summer, a serious knee injury suffered in April 2010 would severely hamper the youngster’s top-flight progress during the coming seasons and leave doubts over whether he would ever fulfil his once lauded potential.
However, the past campaign was something of a renaissance for the Bradford-native, as his 33 appearances earned widespread plaudits from fans of the relegation-threatened club, and even calls from manager Paul Lambert for the former England under-21 international to receive a call-up to the senior side.
One of the few bright spots of an otherwise disappointing campaign, Delph stands out as a potential building block for the financial stricken Villa but, entering the final season of his contract, questions have persisted about his future over the past months.
With rumours of West Ham United plotting a £5million bid, it will come as encouraging news then that the 2013-14 Supporters’ Player of the Season recently stated that he has no desire to move and is hoping to secure a new long-term deal.
Certainly, if Villa have any sense then they will look to tie him up as soon as possible. With few valuable commodities in the current side, and funds at a premium as want-away owner Randy Lerner struggles to find potential buyers, the opportunity to secure the services of top-class talent will remain few and far between for the immediate future.
Delph may not be a star Premier League name but, in Lambert’s thin and inexperienced squad, the quality he brings to the linuep will certainly help the club avoid a fourth consecutive season spent staving off relegation.
|Team||mins / Total Att Assist||mins / Total Tackle||mins / Duel Won||mins / Interception Won||mins / Total Pass||Pass %||mins / Unsuccessful Touch||mins / Ball Recovery||Apps||Mins|
|Fabian Delph||Aston Villa||107.25||30.03||11.96||51.78||1.89||83.61||79.03||13.00||34||3,003|
|Tom Cleverley||Man Utd||157.90||32.90||17.74||46.44||1.39||89.62||197.38||12.73||22||1,579|
In addition, while a call from Roy Hodgson seemed largely ambitious in 2013-14, if Delph can carry over that excellent form into this season then, with obvious midfielder openings, Villa’s talisman will prove hard to ignore.