If you’re an Aston Villa fan, I can’t imagine that July 17th was a great day for you. Christian Benteke seemingly agreed a move to Liverpool for £32.5 Million, you were linked with Emmanuel Adebayor, and Fabian Delph completed his move to Manchester City. When I saw the news of his medical, I actually thought it was a joke, but when I read into the story, I realized it was true and I was actually horrified, so I cant imagine what it was like for Villa fans. How can your club captain commit his future to a 5-year contract, then look set to leave the club, then change his mind and stay with the club, but then change his mind once again and go to Manchester City?
Couple that with the outrageous £49 Million that City paid for Raheem Sterling, and City have stolen the headlines during this transfer window. But the headlines aren’t exactly positive. From a City point of view, Delph and Sterling are great signings that help fill the quota and Sterling could certainly hold down a place in the City starting 11 for a good number of years. But from the outside, it looks as if City have just stolen these two players off of their respective clubs. Delph more so than Sterling, as Sterling had been looking for this move for months, but it begs the question of whether or not loyalty is still in football.
It’s something that has been on the minds of football fans, and that is whether loyalty in football still exists, and whether money speaks louder than anything else. This move from Delph doesn’t really help the cause of those who believe that loyalty still exists. Neither does Sterling in all truth. Football is a business, and money makes the game go round, and this move from Sterling and to some degree Delph proves that money talks.
The jump from Aston Villa to Man City is a big one, and one that probably any footballer would make given the chance. No one can dispute that when it comes to funds and chances for titles and trophies, Man City trumps Villa, but it’s the manner in which Delph left that is frustrating and upsetting to fans. He signed a new contract in January amid interest from Liverpool and Tottenham, committing his future for 5 years to Aston Villa. Okay, that seems like a good move, and the view at the time was that if he left in the summer, at least Villa would get some money for him. That seemed to be the case when the move to City looked on originally, with fans being split down the middle on the move. Delph then re-committed his future to Villa, only to then leave to join City, with an improved contract being offered.
You can’t begrudge a man for wanting to make more money on his trade, but the fact he called Villa “my club” is what breaks the fans’ hearts. The fans love a loyal player, but when you commit your future then leave, fans will hate you for that. You see fans saying that Delph will enjoy his time on the bench at City, but what if he actually plays the majority of the games, then they win the league? Does that make him greedy if he’s gone from relegation battle to title winner in the space of a year?
Raheem Sterling, on the other hand, is a much different proposition. As much as fans can launch attacks at Fabian Delph, at least he never acted in such a petulant manner. Sterling’s agent called Jamie Carragher “an idiot”, held the club up for money that would have Sterling surpass Steven Gerrard as the clubs highest earner. That right there is enough to send fans up the wall. What Sterling and his representatives did was quite frankly disgraceful and disrespectful, and he should be lambasted as much as Fabian Delph. But the ultimate question is, what is loyalty in football?
We are brought up thinking that the game is about winning and the more you win, the better you are. If that’s the case, how can you blame a player for wanting to join a club where he would at the very least be in the hunt for trophies? Like I said before, it was the manner in which Sterling and Delph left that caused the outrage, but them leaving their clubs isn’t really a bad thing. That’s just how football works now. Unfortunately for them, they have moved to the richest club in the country where they will double their wages, and they will now always be painted with the image as “money grabbing snakes”.
Loyalty is dead in football, but players moving to enhance their career isn’t disloyal, its how life goes. The way these players have moved on, and the way many before them and many after them, shows that when money is involved, people change. Raheem Sterling probably isn’t worth his transfer fee, but if he wins the Premier League and gets Man City to the Semi-Finals of the Champions League, then is he worth it?