Tuesday 20 February 2018

Manchester City prepare €60m bid for Kevin de Bruyne

Manchester City are poised to table an offer approaching £50m for Wolfsburg’s Kevin De Bruyne
Manchester City are poised to table an offer approaching £50m for Wolfsburg’s Kevin De Bruyne

John Percy and Mark Ogden

Manchester City are ready to offer up to £50m for Kevin De Bruyne as they prepare for a transfer battle with Paris St-Germain.

City are prepared to make a significant bid for the Wolfsburg attacking midfielder this week and issue their first statement of intent ahead of a major summer recruitment drive by manager Manuel Pellegrini. De Bruyne is due to return home from holiday and will have talks with Wolfsburg over a contract extension in the next few days but the Belgium international is aware of the interest from City and PSG, who have both had their transfer restrictions lifted by UEFA.

Wolfsburg are under no pressure to sell the 24-year-old but sources close to the De Bruyne camp have been told that City are set to table a huge offer approaching £50m. With City fearing that another top target, Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, is heading to Barcelona, they are stepping up their interest in De Bruyne as they seek to land one of their summer priorities.

French champions PSG are also expected to join the race for a player who only left Chelsea in January 2014.

De Bruyne's reputation has soared at the Bundesliga club since his £18m move from Stamford Bridge and he played a huge part in helping Wolsburg to secure Champions League football next season. With a place in Europe's premier competition assured, plus significant backing from German car giants Volkswagen, Wolfsburg could even demand a figure topping £50m for their most coveted player.

City are also focusing on other targets too and are expected to submit a third bid for Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling before they fly out to Australia for a pre-season tour later this week.

Liverpool have so far rejected offers of £25m and £35m for the England international but another bid is widely anticipated. Liverpool, however, are determined to stand by their strict £50m valuation and will continue to adopt a hardline stance over Sterling's future.

Sterling will report for pre-season training with Liverpool tomorrow with his future still uncertain. He has refused to sign a contract extension at Anfield but still has two years left on his deal, with Rodgers initially insisting he would not be sold this summer.

Liverpool's Raheem Sterling
Liverpool's Raheem Sterling

Now, however, Liverpool will reluctantly accept his departure if the right offer is made after bringing in a number of players this summer, including - Roberto Firmino, Nathaniel Clyne, James Milner and Danny Ings.

Sterling, 20, has made no secret of his desire to play in a team competing for titles and the Champions League and said he was not a "money-grabbing 20-year-old" after rejecting a £100,000-a-week contract offer towards the end of last season.

The player's agent, Aidy Ward, has also infuriated Liverpool with his conduct over the past 12 months and the club called off talks in May, following an interview in which Ward claimed his client would snub a £900,000-a-week deal.

Aston Villa's Fabian Delph remains on the City radar and there could be a move this week. The England midfielder is available for just £8m after a modest release clause was inserted into the 4ƒ-year deal he signed in January.

The 25-year-old met Villa manager Tim Sherwood for talks on Thursday at the club's training ground, with his future the topic of conversation.

Delph is settled at Villa but the prospect of Champions League football is attractive to a player who is now fully established in Roy Hodgson's England squad.

City are also building for the future and are close to agreeing a fee with Fulham for Patrick Roberts. Fulham rejected City's first bid but a compromise is expected with Roberts, 18, refusing to sign a new deal at the Championship club.


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