Manchester City have a squad full of talented players, but one who currently stands out head and shoulders above the rest is Kevin De Bruyne.
The stats don’t lie, in 48 games for City he has 18 goals and 16 assists to his name. Arguably the best ‘number ten’ in world football, De Bruyne (KDB) originally helped to shift the weight off of David Silva when it came to creating chances and providing assists but has become so important to City that in his absence last season due to injury, City looked a completely different side.
That form has rolled over into this season, with the Belgian playmaker being outstanding in the Champions League fixtures and against both Man United and Bournemouth in the Premier League.
City hugely missed De Bruyne last season when he was injured.
Originally signed under André Villas-Boas at Chelsea for on the 2012 winter deadline day, many predicted KDB to be a future star for Chelsea. He stayed on loan at Genk until the end of the 2011/2012 season and in the 2012/13 season joined Werder Bremen on a season-long loan where he had a successful season, which encouraged José Mourinho to keep KDB as part of Chelsea’s 2014 title charge.
However, in what has proved to be a mistake, De Bruyne was sold by Mourinho in January of 2014 to Wolfsburg, for whom he had a formidable year and a half for, scoring 10 goals, providing 21 assists, winning the 2015 DFB Pokal and the 2015 Footballer of the year in Germany.
His performances earned him a move to the North West of England where he has very much impressed. From scoring on his debut in a 2-1 defeat to West Ham there have been some spectacular performances from the brilliant Belgian.
From the games against PSG to dismantling Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Sevilla home and away in the Champions League, Everton in the League cup and United in the derby, just to name a few, he has been consistently spectacular.
De Bruyne was in fine form putting in a man of the match display against United.
Under Guardiola, KDB has been utilised in the centre of the pitch more than under Pellegrini, and forming a midfield partnership with David Silva and a further partnership with Agüero and Iheanacho has helped bring the best out of him.
His stamina has allowed him to press opposition players and his skill which is vital for City’s pressing game, and his ability on the ball does the talking for itself, with Jamie Carragher saying on Sky Sports Monday Night Football that ‘De Bruyne could the best foreign players to ever play in the Premier League’, which is a huge complement to the Belgian.
Already people are suggesting that Guardiola could make KDB the best player in the Premier League and he was named as one of only three world class players in the Premier League by former Premier League midfielder Paul Scholes. Putting De Bruyne in that list is hard to argue against.
55 million may have seemed a lot at the time, but it is paying dividends for City, and being managed by Guardiola will only make the Belgian better and better. His weight of pass to Ilkay Gundogan on Saturday was immaculate, and the scary things for opposition is that there is still much more to come from the silky Belgian.
De Bruyne has started the season well for City.
There are several top playmakers in the Premier League, David Silva and Mesut Ozil come to mind immediately, but what makes KDB stand out is that he scores more goals.
Last season in the Premier League, Ozil managed 6 goals in 35 appearances and David Silva managed only 2 goals in an injury hit campaign. De Bruyne managed one more goal than Ozil in ten less appearances, but in the Champions League, he was outstanding in both games against PSG and was vital in the group stages especially against Sevilla.
Silva however was poor in the Champions League scoring once against Borussia Mönchengladbach, as was Ozil who was irrelevant in the games against Barcelona. In all competitions KDB scored 16 goals in 41 games, compared to Ozil scoring eight in 45 games, which is double the tally in four less appearances for the Belgian.
KDB has also had a good career so far his national side. Known as ‘The Belgian Red Devils’, the City playmaker was one of Belgium’s better players at Euro 2016. So far De Bruyne has 12 goals in 48 appearances, a respectable record for a player who is only going to get better!
His performances have been of the highest quality this season, with praise from Alan Shearer who stated “he has gone up a level from last season”, on Match of The Day, and boss Pep Guardiola said “he (De Bruyne) is one of the best players I have worked with,” before going on to say, “Messi is on his own in the table, but Kevin is in the next table and he is right up there.”
It’s fair to say that if Manchester City are to win the title and excel in the Champions League, then De Bruyne will be vital in them doing so. When you compare the prices of kevin De Bruyne for £55 million and Paul Pogba for £89 million, De Bruyne seems to be a bargain, and his displays have certainly showed that.
This article was written by Ben Tipper. Twitter – @bentippermcfc