How has this Manchester City midfielder gone from zero to hero?
The mysterious case of Kevin De Bruyne is one that will confuse many football fans. How can a teenager that Chelsea had been prepared to spend seven million pounds on suddenly flourish into one of Europe’s most sought after players after just one season on from being deemed an expensive failure by Jose Mourinho? One might argue that perhaps he was too young and inexperienced to cut it at the top level, which is why it made sense for Chelsea to immediately loan him out to Werder Bremen. Enjoying a fruitful spell in Germany he returned to Chelsea tipped for bright things but what followed for the Belgian was far from expected.
On the 1st July 2013 De Bruyne was on his way back to Stamford Bridge after being linked with a summer switch to the Bundesliga, by the incoming Jose Mourinho and his assurances that the Belgian would be in his first team plans.
De Bruyne got his first taste of action in a pre-season friendly fixture against the Malaysia XI in which he scored his first goal in a blue shirt. Although he injured his knee in the process of scoring he managed to recover full fitness for the opening day of the 2013-2014 Barclays Premier League season, and marked his competitive debut with an assist en route to a casual 2-0 win for The Blues.
After a bright start to life back in the Premier League, De Bruyne started to struggle nailing down a starting XI role and soon found himself starting from the bench more often than not. No one knows exactly why other than Jose Mourinho, you could even claim De Bruyne did not know why considering he recently revealed that Mourinho only spoke to him twice whilst he was at Chelsea. Whatever it was keeping him on the bench it understandingly irritated the Belgian international to the point he sought a move away from West London a permanent basis. That wish was fulfilled in the January transfer window of 2014 when Wolfsburg agreed to pay Chelsea £18 million pounds for De Bruyne’s services, which was an £11 million pound profit on what Chelsea had paid for the midfielder little over a year ago.
De Bruyne arrived back in Germany with a career to resurrect, and started terrifically, in April he registered two assists for Wolfsburg in the 3-1 win against Nurnberg. Then a week later he scored his first for the club against Hamburger SV. The impressive form continued into the last few matches of the season when he scored two in the last two fixtures of the season, things looked to be up for De Bruyne after the turbulent spell in London.
With the start of the new season came a whole new challenge for the midfielder, consistency. At first it seemed to be a problem as it took him until October to finally start putting the pieces together when he scored the equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Ruban Krasnodar in the Europa League. Once he got off the mark though he wasn’t going to look back, multiple goals and tons of assists followed him through the season as Wolfsburg finished in a very respectable 2nd place in the Bundesliga. Also given the outstanding talent of Bayern Munich this was probably the best thing the club could have hoped to achieve. His mesmerising play also helped Wolfsburg reach the final of the DFB-Pokal final; he started and scored as “die Wölfe” defeated Borussia Dortmund 3–1 at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. De Bruyne ended his breakout season with 16 goals and 27 assists in all competitions, and was named the 2015 Footballer of the Year in Germany as a reward for his efforts.
Although it is quite clear to see how much he improved as a player over the course of the season it must also be noted how much he matured as a person. He went to Germany of the back a depressing spell on the bench at Chelsea and he could have easily continued to sulk or he could seize his new opportunity by the scruff of the neck. He most certainly chose the latter.
Obviously when you have as impressive a season as De Bruyne did the transfer rumours of a move to one of Europe’s elite are never far from the headlines. This was proven when Manchester City came swooping in for him with an astonishing £54 million bid and as sporting director Klaus Allofs stated, City had also made an “astonishing” wage offer to De Bruyne to tempt him to move to the Etihad after just one season at the Volkswagen arena.
Only a few weeks into life in Manchester he was already showing his quality, On 19th September he scored his first goal for the club against West Ham United in first half stoppage time in an eventual 2-1 loss. He scored again, in a 4-1 League Cup win against Sunderland on the 22nd September. Continuing his good form he scored the opener against Tottenham Hotspur on the 26th of September, although Spurs turned that game around and it ended 4-1 in Tottenham’s favour. On the 3rd October he scored in the team’s 6-1 thumping off Newcastle. All of this just exemplifies his seamless transition into life at Man City. This also provides an example of how he has matured as a person after that spell in Germany since he would almost certainly never have recorded such impressive stats at Chelsea and it shows how much he has come on leaps and bounds in the last year in a playing sense.
If he can keep this current form up then there is no reason as to why he cannot transform himself into one of Europe’s very best players and although there are now only a few lingering doubts about his price tag he can also brush of any suggestions that he is not worth the sum Man City coughed up to get him in the iconic blue shirt.
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