Since their takeover in September 2008, Manchester City have become notorious for spending large sums of money on players; Sergio Aguero, Yaya Touré, Fernandinho, David Silva, Edin Dzeko, Samir Nasri and Robinho. The trend was continued this summer, City spending big on Nicolás Otamendi, winger Raheem Sterling and a Premier League return for Kevin De Bruyne – the Stamford Bridge reject. The two attacking players have put in performances that have seen them become integral members of the citizen’s starting line-up.
However it is the Belgium starlet that has really caught the eye. City splashed the cash to get their man and so far his contribution to their season has raised the question; has De Bruyne dethroned Sergio Aguero and become a more important player than the Argentine?
A lot is expected from a player when a club forks out a large amount of money for their services. So many names spring to mind when we think of players that have not lived up to their price tags; Angel Di Maria, Andy Carroll, Juan Sebastián Veron, Fernando Torres, Roberto Soldado and the list goes on. However there are those who do live up to their transfer fee.
The £55 million signing hit 16 goals and provided an astounding 28 assists in all competitions for former club Wolfsburg last season. One of the key reasons behind his consistent performances this season must be that the Belgian has been a regular in the line-up ever since his debut against Crystal Palace. Manuel Pellegrini has not completely dropped him since his arrival. He has 21 appearances in all competitions this season, breaking it down into 17 starts and 4 substitutes. He has had time to bed himself into the system of play and create a great understanding with those around.
Sergio Aguero has featured 14 times in all competitions for this season. 10 league appearances have yielded 7 goals and an assists. Sergio played half the games and scored the winner against Borussia Monchengladbach in their successful European campaign which saw them top Group D. A goal in his sole Capital One Cup match gives him a tally of 9 for the season.
So far Kevin De Bruyne has provided 4 goals and 6 six assists from 12 Premier League matches. An additionally 4 goals in the Capital One Cup and a Champions league goal. His 9 goals are level with that of Aguero’s.
An issue that has become recurring with Aguero is his knack of picking injuries. The striker has spent a lot of time on treatment table with mainly hamstring injuries during his Manchester City career. This season has seen him already miss 7 weeks of game time. Many see the number 10 as City’s talisman, and with 85 goals in 129 appearances it is hard to argue against that. Aguero should really have scored more than 9 goals this season and already have bagged his centurion strike for City by now, you can only wonder what he could’ve reached had injuries not affected him.
Another reason to argue De Bruyne’s greater importance than Aguero is the versatility of the Belgium, which has been used to great effect by Pellegrini. The attacking midfielder has started out on the left hand side/left wing of an attacking trio. He’s been given licensed to roam across that midfield area and find himself in the pocket behind the number 9.
Aguero is a striker, he will uses his pace to stretch defences, his movements pulls defenders out of position, he has great link up play and he can drop deep to pick up the ball and run at the centre-backs.
The Citizen’s number 17 has also been used in the centre forward position this season. He has the legs and movement to stretch defences, he’s a talented and skilled dribbler who can turn and run at defences and as proven already he has an eye for goal. Pellegrini knows he can stick him up front, as the Chilean said on the arrival of the player, “he has all of the mental, physical, tactical and technical attributes.”
De Bruyne has become City’s creative focal point in the absence of Silva, Nasri and the decline of Touré. He has created more chances than any other City player in the Premier League. He has provided the answer to the questions; “what to do when Silva and Aguero aren’t there to assists and score, or when Yaya isn’t performing to his best standards?”
Upon his arrival at the Etihad, he said he wanted “to reach the highest level possible as a player.” He must carry on with a run of regular and consistent performances to reach his goal. When Aguero returns then maybe he too can jump on the bandwagon and produce the same consistent top performances. Then both players will rule as Manchester City’s most important attacking player. But until that happens, Kevin De Bruyne can bask in the glory of being more important than his colleague.
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