Manchester City's new signing Kevin De Bruyne has not come cheap at a reported €74m from Wolfsburg, but Philip Röber explains that the 24-year-old has plenty to justify his fee.
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Manchester City's new signing Kevin De Bruyne has not come cheap at a reported €74m, so what will they get for their money? A player who has matured quickly in his relatively young career, setting the Bundesliga alight as he progressed from a winger to a more free roaming attacking midfielder. The 24-year-old is a perfect counterattacking machine who has many strengths and perhaps just one notable weakness. UEFA.com investigates ...
De Bruyne assisted 20 goals for Wolfsburg last season, adding to ten of his own strikes. His ability to make his team-mates shine prompted Chelsea to sign him in 2012 after 36 assists in 111 matches for Genk, but he never got to really prove his worth in London. What separates De Bruyne from many other attacking midfielders is that not only does he have a great eye for a defence-splitting pass, he seldom shies away from the potential risks that playing one may bring.
Pace and dribbling
City have acquired a lethal weapon: a fair share of opposing defences will be undone after a determined De Bruyne run to the touchline, where he will square the ball for Sergio Agüero to finish off. He can switch to a high gear almost instantly and loves to take on several defenders. In attacking transitions, when opponents are even momentarily disorganised, De Bruyne causes havoc.
Last season De Bruyne played 51 competitive matches and was hardly ever substituted (he played 4,541 out of 4,590 possible minutes). His form never really suffered throughout the whole campaign even though Wolfsburg had a busy schedule, involved in three competitions until very late in the season. His work rate was nothing short of excellent and must not be underestimated as a huge factor in why his price tag has risen to such a hefty sum.
De Bruyne has a deft touch and regularly puts himself on the scoresheet but could still improve his efficiency after setting himself up to score. A recent example came last Saturday during Wolfsburg's Bundesliga match against Köln, when De Bruyne missed a potential added-time winner after racing clear and failing to beat the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation.
What they say:
Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City manager
"We are very happy to have added Kevin to our team and I have no doubt that he will be a big success on his return to the Premier League. It takes a special footballer to improve our squad and I have no doubt that Kevin is certainly one of those – he has all of the mental, physical, tactical and technical attributes required to fit straight in."
Dieter Hecking, Wolfsburg coach
"He is a perfect player when you look at transitions from defence to offence. He has a fantastic anticipation level for empty space and opponents find it incredibly difficult to defend against him. He is a phenomenon: you can find him everywhere on the pitch, but then he also manages to disappear and emerge at the right time."
Marc Wilmots, Belgium coach
"Kevin fares best when the pace of a match is very high, which is why he excelled in the Bundesliga. I was not surprised by his performances for Wolfsburg; I knew what he was capable of."