Kevin De Bruyne has agreed a new contract worth more than £65 million (€75m) to commit his future to Manchester City until 2025, but talks with Raheem Sterling over fresh terms are on hold until the summer.
De Bruyne, 29, negotiated his new deal himself without an agent and will receive a pay rise on his £300,000-a-week (€347,000) contract that had two years to run. Earlier this week it was revealed in City’s accounts they had overtaken Manchester United for salaries in 2020 with an increased wage bill of £351 million.
It is seen as money well invested to get De Bruyne to play at the Etihad Stadium during his peak, where he is poised to add a third Premier League title to his collection. The Belgian was satisfied with the direction the club are moving, having previously shown concern when the potential of a Champions League ban loomed. Victory over UEFA in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, plus Pep Guardiola’s contract extension, meant the pieces were in place for him to stay.
“Pep and I see football in the same way,” De Bruyne said. “Having that relationship with a manager is so important to me because our objectives are totally aligned, and we want the same things.
“This football club is geared for success. It offers me everything I need to maximise my performance. I am playing the best football of my career and I honestly feel there is more to come.”
With De Bruyne’s future confirmed, City also have Fernandinho’s future in the in-tray ahead of him becoming a free agent in the summer. John Stones has a year left and will earn a new deal. Sterling has two years left on his contract, which is a tricky time for clubs, but he is set to focus on winning his place back in Guardiola’s side before opening talks on a new deal.
He has not started a Premier League game in a month and, like De Bruyne, Sterling has recently left his long-term agent and is currently not represented by an intermediary.
De Bruyne has led the way in self-representation, using Belgian lawyer Daan Buylaert of legal firm Tiberghien to look at paperwork but negotiating himself. No agents’ fees were paid.
He also presented data analysis of his contribution to the team in the context of his value in the transfer market. Other significant factors included his family being settled in Manchester, where his children go to school and nursery, and he preferred not to uproot them.
Meanwhile, the assistant referee who got Erling Haaland’s autograph after the Champions League quarter-final clash at City is expected to receive an informal “dressing down” from Uefa.
Octavian Sovre sparked criticism after stopping the Borussia Dortmund striker in the tunnel following the German side’s 2-1 defeat at Manchester City on Tuesday night.
Senior figures with European football’s governing body were said to be unimpressed, and will speak to the official informally. He escapes any sanction as he was not in breach of any rules.
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