Quiet assassin De Bruyne rampantly repaying Man City’s record fee
Doubts were cast over Manchester City’s decision to spend a club record £55m on Belgium international playmaker Kevin De Bruyne this summer, after one superb season in Germany, but the former Chelsea misfit is potently proving his worth.
The 24-year-old arrived at the Etihad this year and became the second-most expensive acquisition in Premier League history, behind only £59.7m flop Angel Di Maria, but he has swiftly found his feet in a division where he previously endured a tough time.
At Stamford Bridge, De Bruyne was signed for £7m on a five-and-half-year deal in January 2012, but his Chelsea career failed to take flight, with Jose Mourinho’s men 8/1 with Coral to lift the title this term.
Having returned to Genk for that season run-in, the Belgian was then sent out on loan again to Werder Bremen and there showed exactly the attacking credentials that Blues boss Mourinho was in search of. Though an injury on his return to London saw his prospects in blue derailed, eventually leaving for Wolfsburg permanently.
It was on his comeback to the Bundesliga that De Bruyne truly came to life, with his incredible, creative displays helping Dieter Hecking’s side finish second to champions Bayern Munich and enjoy a strong run in the Europa League.
As expected, once a star of De Bruyne’s calibre makes an impact in one of the top European leagues, it’s only a matter of time before the alluring riches of the Premier League or La Liga’s giants come calling, and this time it was City.
Slotting alongside Spanish maestro David Silva and fellow newcomer Raheem Sterling in a star-studded attacking midfield, behind Argentina striker Sergio Aguero, De Bruyne has fit in seamlessly and raised eyebrows over Mourinho’s willingness to let him depart his set-up.
The astute attacking midfielder has now bagged three goals in his last three outings for City, providing his new club with plenty of prowess going forward, effectively becoming a key cog in Pellegrini’s title-chasing machine.
Despite currently being the most expensive player in England’s top-flight, the serial assist-maker has remained quietly spoken and extremely humble, claiming he does not want to be cast as the star of City’s show. Though his performances may not give him a choice as he becomes England’s quiet assassin.
“I don’t want to be the star, I just want to play good,” admitted De Bruyne. “Obviously, there is a big price tag, but I had a four-year contract left and Wolfsburg didn’t want to let me go. So it is totally different to when I had a one year contract and they wanted me to leave.
“It is a lot of money, but I need to play football. It is a lot of money, but I am not the only one [at City].
“At Wolfsburg, I was the star, but at the end of the day I am not the guy who speaks a lot. I don’t want to be a captain. I’m not loud in the dressing room or outside. That is not my style. I just do my stuff on the pitch and help the team.”
After a couple of appearances from the bench, De Bruyne was rewarded a starting position in City’s set-up and he hasn’t disappointed, netting three times in Capital One Cup and domestic league outings.
“I have always been like this and I will try to stay the same. You get kids who look up to you as a role model, but I don’t know why I should change,” he continued.
“I am happy with the way my life is going, and I’m happy the way it has gone for 24 years, so I don’t know why I should change. I like it quiet with my family. I have never been the guy who speaks and jokes the most. And I need to get to know everyone at City too.”
In the absence of City’s talismanic playmaker Silva against Spurs, De Bruyne was key to any forward movement and even slotted home the opener in what eventually turned into a miserable afternoon on their visit to White Hart Lane.
The wealth injected into City’s set-up has so far helped overseen four major trophy victories, including two league titles, and both FA and League Cup wins, but the European stage is seen as this club’s holy grail and they are 14/1 to end their wait this season.
With such an array of talent, it’s a surprise the Sky Blues have suffered continuous disappointments in the Champions League, showing their credentials in short bursts against the big boys but then ultimately exiting in the long stretch.
Could De Bruyne be the star to overturn this stuttering form in Europe’s elite club competition? He has the experience of guiding Wolfsburg through the Europa League knock-out stages and will soon face a familiar opponent in Borussia Monchengladbach.
The in-form playmaker is 7/4 to net anytime in his second Champions League outing for City, having got the better of the Bundesliga outfit before during his spell in Germany, as the Belgian aims to inspire a revival in Group D where his side were previously toppled 2-1 by Juventus.
De Bruyne’s influence has already been evident on the blue half of Manchester, linking up solidly with his fellow forwards and demonstrating fluid attacking distinction in the final third, as he proves to be great value as the most costly player in an already expensively-assembled squad.