Tuesday 20 March 2018

Confirmed: Manchester City announce huge deal for Kevin de Bruyne

Kevin de Bruyne of Wolfburg is seen with fans during the Bundesliga match between VfL Wolfsburg and FC Schalke 04 at Volkswagen Arena on August 28, 2015 in Wolfsburg, Germany. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Kevin de Bruyne of Wolfburg is seen with fans during the Bundesliga match between VfL Wolfsburg and FC Schalke 04 at Volkswagen Arena on August 28, 2015 in Wolfsburg, Germany. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Manchester City have announced the signing of Kevin de Bruyne from Wolfsburg on a six-year deal.

The 24-year-old former Chelsea player had been a prime transfer window target of City boss Manuel Pellegrini who can now integrate him into the Barclays Premier League leaders' squad.

De Bruyne has signed a six-year contract, his new club announced.

Pellegrini said on City's website: "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."

The fee has not been announced but reports have suggested City may have gone as high as £58million with their offer, eclipsing the £49million club-record price paid for Raheem Sterling earlier in the summer.

De Bruyne joins winger Sterling, midfielder Fabian Delph and centre-back Nicolas Otamendi in swelling the senior ranks at the Etihad Stadium this summer.

City were already well stocked with talent in midfield, but De Bruyne strengthens their options for a season when success at home and in Europe is coveted at the club. He will be competing with the likes of Sterling, David Silva and Samir Nasri to play in the area behind striker Sergio Aguero.

Pellegrini said: "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.

"We like to play attractive, attacking football and bringing in a player like De Bruyne will only aid us as we fight on four fronts."

De Bruyne forged his reputation as a creative player and a goal threat at his first club, Genk, and joined Chelsea in January 2012, but barely saw any first-team action during his time with the club.

He stayed at Genk on loan for the remainder of the 2011-12 season before spending the following campaign at Werder Bremen, again on loan. Without establishing himself in new Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho's plans, he was allowed to depart for Wolfsburg on a permanent transfer in January 2014.

The Belgium international played a starring role in Wolfsburg finishing second in last season's Bundesliga, and City are confident their new arrival is far from a Premier League cast-off and more a player who will strengthen their silverware prospects.

De Bruyne is eager to prove himself at his new club.

He said: "I want to reach the highest level possible as a player and I think the most important thing is that at the end of the season we can be happy and maybe have some titles.

"I think this is the most important for the club, the players and for the fans of course.

Wolfsburg could not compete with City's ''astonishing'' salary offer to De Bruyne, the German club's director of sport Klaus Allofs acknowledged on Thursday.

It meant the transfer of last season's Bundesliga player of the year became an inevitability, with City and Wolfsburg negotiating a mutually acceptable fee.

On Sunday, Allofs said of the deal: "We would have loved to carry on working with Kevin, but we decided to accommodate his wishes of moving to Manchester City now.

"He behaved in an absolutely professional manner during 18 months with Wolfsburg and he always gave everything.

"His transfer is regrettable because he was a key member of our team, but we are still well equipped to be able to continue along the successful path we have been on in recent months.

"We wish Kevin a lot of success with Manchester City."

Wolfsburg have precious little time to find a replacement, with the Bundesliga transfer window closing on Monday, a day before the Premier League finishes its summer trading.

De Bruyne joins a team eager to reassert themselves as the best in the Premier League, after titles in 2012 and 2014.

Chelsea, with Mourinho at the helm, were champions last term but find themselves already eight points behind fast-starting City this season, after just four rounds of games.

De Bruyne's new midfield colleague Fernandinho says City have no intention of easing up, after a 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday emphasised their impressive form.

Sterling and Fernandinho struck the goals as City improved their Premier League record to played four, won four, with 10 goals scored and none conceded.

City's flow could be interrupted by upcoming international fixtures but Fernandinho is determined not to lose focus.

The Brazil international said: "It is always good when we play so good the last game before the international break. We take more confidence to play for the national team as well and I hope, in 15 days when we come back, we can keep on the same level as well."

Press Association

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