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Leeds signing this veteran 31-year-old English star would be a smart coup by Bielsa

Why Leeds United signing Fabian Delph in January would be a real coup

Towards the end of July, a report from the Daily Star claimed that Leeds United had targeted Fabian Delph as a part of their summer spending spree after securing promotion to the Premier League. However, a fairytale return to Elland Road never really materialised for the England international, who ended up staying put at Everton before the deadline. 

Profile

Fabian Delph joined Leeds United from Bradford City in 2001 and made his first-team debut for the Whites in the Championship during the 2006-07 season. He amassed over 50 appearances for Leeds across three seasons, featuring largely in League One, before earning a move to the Premier League with Aston Villa in 2009. 

The midfielder went on to establish himself as a quality player in the top-flight over the course of his six-year stint at Villa Park that saw him rack up 134 appearances for the Villans in all competitions.

Delph’s impressive form paved the way for a switch to heavyweights Man City in 2015 and the 31-year-old eventually capped off a successful spell at the Etihad with two Premier League titles in his cabinet. 

FLEETWOOD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 23: Fabian Delph of Everton runs with the ball during the Carabao Cup third round match between Fleetwood Town and Everton at Highbury Stadium on September 23, 2020, in Fleetwood, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Delph joined Everton in 2019 but has struggled to establish himself as a key player at Goodison Park due to stiff competition for places in midfield. The 20-cap England international made only 16 league appearances for the Toffees last term and has only started once in the PL so far this season. 

Delph would add more depth and experience to Leeds’ midfield

Leeds United’s squad-depth issues in several departments have been badly exposed by the hectic schedule of the Premier League this season, despite the Whites spending a fortune to revamp their squad with quality players like Robin Koch, Diego Llorente, Rodrigo Moreno and Raphinha in the summer. 

Injuries to several key players like Kalvin Phillips and Pablo Hernandez have often reduced the Whites to bare bones in terms of options in the middle of the park. Phillips, in particular, occupies a key position at the base of Marcelo Bielsa’s 4-1-4-1 system and his smooth transition to life in the top-flight has been a massive positive for Leeds.

However, the lack of quality alternatives in the holding midfield role remains a pressing concern for the manager. Pascal Struijk and Jamie Shackleton have struggled to make a real impression in the Premier League while Mateusz Klich has also proven himself to be a misfit in that position.

Hence, the Whites should definitely look to bring in some quality cover for Phillips when the market reopens in January.

WATFORD, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 01: Fabian Delph of Everton in action during the Premier League match between Watford FC and Everton FC at Vicarage Road on February 01, 2020, in Watford, United Kingdom. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Thus, Leeds United making a renewed attempt to lure Fabian Delph back to Elland Road in January would make a lot of sense in footballing terms. A veteran of close to 200 Premier League appearances, Delph ticks the box as a tried and tested performer at the highest level and one who would add some much-needed depth, stability and experience to the Whites’ midfield. 

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Verdict

Fabian Delph recently turned 31 in November but still has a few good years left in him to play a significant role in the top-flight. Besides his obvious quality and experience as an England international, Delph would also have a positive influence at Leeds with his winning mentality, having won 2 PL titles during his time at Man City.

That being said, the Whites should definitely consider bringing their former academy graduate back to the club in January.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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