The saga is finally over, as Manchester City’s summer-long courting of Wolfsburg attacker Kevin de Bruyne has come to a happy conclusion for the Premier League leaders.
The Sky Blues announced De Bruyne’s arrival on a six-year contract, with the 24-year-old saying, “I want to reach the highest level possible as a player and I think the most important thing is that at the end of the season we can be happy and maybe have some titles. I think this is the most important for the Club, the players and for the fans of course.”
Manchester City did not indicate a transfer fee, but reports suggest it’s in the range of $78-86 million, which would be a club record signing, beating the Raheem Sterling move earlier this summer. A deal in that range would also indicate both a record for a Bundesliga sale and a record for a Belgian player.
De Bruyne left Chelsea in January of 2014 after failing to log significant game time, and he made an immediate and stunning impact at Wolfsburg, logging 10 goals and a whopping 21 assists in Bundesliga play. He and striker Bas Dost developed a brilliant partnership, and the two led the club to a second-place finish last season in the German top flight, earning Champions League play.
His amazing form caught the eye of multiple top clubs across Europe, and through a long, drawn-out summer where Wolfsburg tried every trick in the bag to keep him, ultimately the baby-faced Belgian decided to move to the Etihad.
“It takes a special footballer to improve our squad and I have no doubt that Kevin is certainly one of those,” Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini told the official team website. “he has all of the mental, physical, tactical and technical attributes required to fit straight in. We like to play attractive, attacking football and bringing in a player like De Bruyne will only aid us as we fight on four fronts.”
City plays a style somewhat similar to Wolfsburg, so in that sense De Bruyne is a great fit. However, the squad is bursting at the seams with quality attacking talent after a busy transfer window, and De Bruyne will have to compete with the likes of David Silva, Jesus Navas, Samir Nasri, Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and Patrick Roberts for game time. De Bruyne saw much of his success at Wolfsburg exploiting space in the center of the attack, but could be forced out wide by the current setup at City, which is where he seemed to struggle at Chelsea.