Everton have splashed out £10million to sign Fabian Delph from Manchester City, a transfer that might not be the most spectacular of the summer, but for that money the Toffees now have a proven Premier League level player, an England international and someone with Champions League experience.
It’s a good move for both clubs. Delph brings versatility to an Everton side who look to be building a strong squad for a relatively low price compared to some of their Premier League rivals. Manchester City didn’t need the player, he hardly played last season, and no top six club inquired about his availability.
Everton are looking to break into the top six, but to do so they need to sign world class players, something they cannot afford to do. Instead, signing players on the cusp of the elite level with experience and who can be role models for younger squad players is the next best way to do things – Delph certainly fits that bill.
He was Man City left-back in the 2017/18 campaign when they recorded the most Premier League points for a season, and joins Lucas Digne, who has won La Liga and Ligue 1, and Andre Gomes, a La Liga and Primeira Liga winner, in the Everton ranks.
But where will Delph fit in? Everton play a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Gylfi Sigurdsson in the ’10’ position, which leaves one of the two deeper midfield positions available for Delph to occupy. Andre Gomes and Idrissa Gueye were the preferred pairing last season, offering a good balance of defensive and attacking acumen. Although Delph could replace Gueye if rumours linking him with PSG are true.
His passing accuracy is usually reliably high, so he is a great choice for games when Everton want to control the ball and keep it, and that spell at left-back for Man City also means that Delph can provide cover at the back, reducing the need for Everton to invest in any backup.
The Delph transfer is a decent one because of how cheap he was, but there is a reason City allowed him to leave in the first place – he isn’t quite good enough to play in that star-studded midfield – but some of the best midfielders in the league wouldn’t get in either.
Gareth Southgate has continued to call Delph up to his England squads, even when he was occupying a place on the City bench, and his international performances have been decent. He has mainly operated as a tidy midfield passer, laying off short balls and providing a barrier to the defence.
There are not many regular internationals who have captained their country (November 2018 – 3-0 v USA), who have played in the Champions League and still play in the Premier League, available for £10million.
Whether he is the player to take Everton to the next level that will see them challenging the top six, only time will tell, but it is a very good bit of business by Marco Silva in these days of multi-million pound signings.