Fabian Delph should be praised for his “brave” decision to join Manchester City, Martin Keown has claimed.
Delph performed his second dramatic U-turn in six days to leave Aston Villa in an £8m move to City on Friday evening.
The England international had pledged his future to Villa after turning down a move to City only to contact the Manchester club days later in a bid to revive the move.
“People change their mind don’t they? It is what happens - he wouldn’t be the first person to turn down an opportunity, regretted it and then worked hard to change it and he has been brave enough to do that”, Keown, who spent three years at Villa before he was sold to Everton in 1989.
“When Delph elected to stay at Villa a lot of people were surprised. He looked as if his contract was running out, but he put pen-to-paper on a new deal, and, from a Villa point of view, thank God he did otherwise he would have left on a free transfer.
“So, let us not be too hard on Delph. I suffered backlash from the Villa fans when I left there and he has agonised over that decision and it was a tough call - he already made the call once and had to change his mind.
“It is a good signing for City - they want to buy British - he made his England debut last season and settled in well, he is a driving force from midfield, but it is a huge blow for Aston Villa.”
Keown also believes Arsenal - another of his former clubs - may need to strengthen before the start of the season if they want to challenge for the Premier League title.
Arsenal have not won the league since they went the entire 2003-04 season unbeaten.
And while Keown praised the signing of goalkeeper Petr Cech from rivals Chelsea, he has urged manager Arsene Wenger to add to his squad before they begin their campaign against West Ham on August 9.
“I am concerned a little bit that while Francis Coquelin has done well, what if he dips in form or gets injured?” Keown said.
“Is there another player, a tool in the box that can do what he does? Mikel Arteta is injured and can Mathieu Flamini still do it? That would be a concern.
“I think the centre-forward position is a concern, too. Olivier Giroud did not make the FA Cup final team and he is supposed to be the number one striker. Is he the number one now? Or is it Danny Welbeck or Theo Walcott?
“Arsene Wenger has to judge whether this group is good enough to win the league. That is his call and only he can decide that.
“I hope he is right. They are a year older. They have won two trophies and the second half of last season they were the best team in the Premier League - that maybe has done enough to convince him.”