Leeds United academy product Fabian Delph left Aston Villa in a pretty unceremonious manner in 2015.
In 2009, Aston Villa signed then 19-year-old Fabian Delph from Leeds United. Back then Villa weren’t just an established Premier League outfit, they were a team fighting for European places and competing against the big boys.
Fast forward to today, and recently promoted Villa are now chasing yet another Leeds academy product. This time it’s Kalvin Phillips.
The Telegraph have claimed that Villa are plotting a £14 million move for the 23-year-old midfielder, who just produced his best season for the Yorkshire club during the recently concluded campaign.
A lot still needs to happen if Phillips were to make the switch from Elland Road to Villa Park, but if he does, could he follow the same footsteps as Delph, who is now despised by the Villa faithful?
When Delph first joined Villa, he struggled to break into Martin O’Neil’s team and it wasn’t until Paul Lambert arrived many years later that he made a name for himself. England caps followed and amid Villa’s struggles, those at the top of the league came chasing.
In 2015, one season prior to Villa heading into the Championship for the first time in nearly three decades, Manchester City came knocking for Delph’s services. Initially, he turned down their offer and he pledged his loyalty to the club, only to sign for them many days later. The manner in which Delph left Villa Park has never sat well with the supporters.
Despite that, Delph has gone on to win numerous trophies, including the domestic treble during the previous campaign when he helped Pep Guardiola’s side lift the Premier League title, League Cup and then the FA Cup.
If Phillips were to make the ambitious switch and leave his boyhood club, could he have the same impact his fellow academy graduate has had in going to the top and winning trophies?
In the end, Delph used Villa as a stepping stone, and it worked. At the age of 23, Phillips has all the qualities to reach the levels Delph has reached, but would he need to leave Elland Road and make that move this summer in order for that to happen? Or will Leeds finally end their long-awaited return to the Premier League next term?