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5 stars who signed a new contract...and then left the following summer

Scott Newman
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Manchester City v Hull City - Capital One Cup Quarter Final
Fabian Delph angered Aston Villa fans with his move to Manchester City

Despite plenty of fans being pleased when their favourite player signs a new deal with the club they support, everyone knows deep down that in the modern world of football, contracts don’t mean a lot. To speak in cliche, a lot of football contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. They simply play a small part in the career of a player these days, whether it’s to squeeze more money out of a club or to send a message to the fans.

Sometimes big-name players sign a new deal at their current club knowing full well that they don’t intend to stay there much longer. Despite pledging their future to that side, we’ve seen plenty of times now that a player can sign a deal one day and be gone from the club the next. Here are five players who signed a new contract, only to depart in the following summer transfer window.

#1 Fabian Delph

Aston Villa v Burnley - Premier League
Aston Villa's club captain Fabian Delph signed a new deal only to abandon ship a few months later

The departure of England international Fabian Delph from Aston Villa in the summer of 2015 stung for a variety of different reasons. Delph was the club captain at the Midlands club at the time of his departure; the buying team, Manchester City, didn’t appear to truly need the player; and a week before the move he even put a statement out on the official Villa website pledging his loyalty and future to the club and stating that he wouldn’t be moving to City.

A week later, of course, he was in Manchester posing in his new team’s shirt.

Worse still, Delph had only signed a new deal with Villa in the previous January – a deal that was supposed to keep him at Villa Park until 2019 after he’d been linked with a move away from the club when his current deal was set to expire that summer.

Despite being at Villa since 2009/10, Delph had only been linked with moves away since the beginning of the 2013/14 season, when he’d found a rich vein of form, and had ended up being voted Player of the Season by the Villa fans. That was enough to put him into the England squad post-World Cup 2014, and he appeared to be firmly in Roy Hodgson’s plans going forward into the Euro 2016 campaign, too.

The financial terms of Delph’s 2015 contract at Villa were pretty much unknown, but then-manager Paul Lambert described the deal as a “great coup” for the club, while Delph stated that he had no intention of “bailing out” on the Villa.

And of course, seven months later he was gone, showing once again that contracts mean very little in modern football. He’s since struggled for playing time at City, although he’s broken into the team more often this season, inexplicably as a left-back. It’s a far cry from his time as Villa’s star midfielder.

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Scott Newman
UK based, big follower of football and MMA. Tottenham and England fan for life!
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