Manchester City prepare £40m bid for Kevin De Bruyne
Manchester City are poised to make an opening £40 million offer for Kevin De Bruyne after Txiki Begiristain spent last weekend holding talks over the midfielder.
But City will need to smash their transfer record for a second time this summer and pay £57m to convince Wolfsburg to sell De Bruyne.
Director of football Begiristain travelled to London last Friday and took advantage of the fact De Bruyne, his agent, Patrick De Koster, and Wolfsburg were all in the capital city for the Emirates Cup.
Wolfsburg manager Dieter Hecking insisted the German club are yet to receive an official offer for De Bruyne, but that is likely to arrive from City this week.
It is understood Begiristain took soundings on what it would take to sign De Bruyne, with City prepared to hand the 24-year-old a five-year contract, with the option of a further 12 months, worth £180,000-a-week.
Wolfsburg value De Bruyne at 20m euros for every year he has left on his current contract, which expires in 2019. That brings the total value to €80m (£57m).
Despite the staggering figures involved and the fact Jose Mourinho warned that the Belgian could not cope with the competition in Chelsea’s squad, City are determined to land De Bruyne this summer.
Of their three main transfer targets, City have completed the club record £49m signing of Raheem Sterling, but have cooled their interest in Paul Pogba – leaving De Bruyne as the main priority ahead of the new season.
An injury to Fabian Delph has also underlined City’s desire to further strengthen their midfield and signing De Bruyne would certainly do that.
Wolfsburg had planned to open negotiations over a new contract with De Bruyne, but the Germans cannot match what is on offer at City.
“I don't know where I will play next season,” said De Bruyne. “I just have to train well and make sure that I am fully fit. We will then see what happens.
“But it is always something special when big clubs show an interest in you. Of course, I am thinking about it.”
Sporting director Klaus Allofs insists De Bruyne is happy at Wolfsburg, but conceded the club do not expect to keep him for the remainder of his contract.
“The situation is the same. We don’t want to sell him,” said Allofs. “As everybody knows, he has a contract until 2019. We have had no serious offers, but we know that there are clubs who are interested.
“He is happy with us, he made the right choice when he came as he was not happy at Chelsea. It was also the right move for Wolfsburg, and we know he is happy.
“We know we are not going to keep him until 2019, or even 2018. He has only been with us for a year-and-a-half. If he stays, which will probably be the case, he will be happy.”
De Bruyne’s value has trebled in just over 18 months at Wolfsburg after leaving Chelsea for £18m in January last year. The Blues did not include a sell-on clause in the deal, but insist they have no regrets over letting him go.
Mourinho agreed to sell the player after refusing to give De Bruyne assurances over his playing time and the Belgium international asked to leave.