Fabian Delph’s decision to quit Aston Villa for Manchester City has left boss Tim Sherwood with a massive hole to fill.
His decision to move on, having originally committed himself to Villa once again, called into question the moral fibre of your average footballer, who appears ready to take the biggest offer that comes his way rather than show any allegiance to the club which may have nurtured him through his teenage years or stuck by him through injury and lack of form.
Manchester City triggered the £8m release clause in Delph’s contract and he chose to join them. He is unlikely to be the last big name to leave Villa either after Liverpool took the decision to activate striker Christian Benteke’s release clause at £32.5m.
It is not the former Leeds player’s fault that Villa are a selling club and, as soon as he realised that they were going to offload Belgium international Benteke as well, he had a change of heart and decided it was the right thing to do to move to City, and who can blame him?
The decision to either stay at a selling club who will again be battling the drop or sign for a side who will be challenging for the Premier League title and, at the same time, increase his international chances, would appear to be a no-brainer.
The task now for Villa boss Sherwood is to replace Delph in his midfield.
The tough-tackling Englishman has a turn of pace, can read a game and has a shot that whilst rarely seen for Villa – he failed to find the back of the net in the Premier League last season – he may be encouraged to use more at City.
Sherwood is likely to go back to his former club Tottenham Hotspur to try and pluck out a youngster who he believes is not getting the games he should at White Hart Lane.
Sherwood is a big fan of the 23-year-old midfielder Tom Carroll and he could be the man he needs.
Carroll was sent on loan to Swansea City last season where he made 13 Premier League starts and five substitute appearances, although he did not manage to get himself on the score sheet or be credited with an assist.
He only returned to training with Spurs last week after being given an extended rest following this summer’s European Under-21 Championships and is yet to feature in any of manager Mauricio Pochettino’s pre-season plans.
Carroll is also available at a knockdown fee as his current contract at the Lane runs out in a year’s time so they will be keen for him to move on if they do not feel he is going to be part of the manager’s plans.
Spurs know his value will be a lot less the moment this summer’s transfer window shuts and he could be available for as little as £2million.
Sherwood will have problems selling the club to any perspective new players as they are now said to be one of the relegation favorites for the coming Premier league season.
The Villa boss may have to dip into the lower leagues if he fails in his plans to land Carroll, but he will be hoping his previous association with the midfielder is enough to persuade him to head up to Birmingham.
It may not be the last time we see Sherwood head back to his old stomping ground either as Emmanuel Adebayor is being lined up to replace Benteke in Villa’s strikeforce.
How Sherwood replaces his two best players in Delph and Benteke will likely decide whether the Villans can avoid another relegation battle or be sucked back towards the dreaded drop zone once again.