Kevin De Bruyne – the £56 million pound Belgian

Man City QuizWith Man City about to secure the signing of Kevin De Bruyne (KDB) for an astonishing £56 million we take a look at the meteoric rise of a player that cost Chelsea a mere £7m from Genk only three years ago. 

Scooped up by the Chelsea talent trawler in 2012 KDB made his debut against MLS outfit the Seattle Sounders in a 4-2 win under Andre villas Boas (remember him?) however he was immediately farmed out on loan to Bundesliga outfit of the Werder Bremen. A productive season in the Bundesliga saw KDB’s stock rise and lead him to win the Young Player of the Year in 2013. 

After the season long loan spell KDB returned to Chelsea this time under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho. Despite being given assurances that he was part of Jose’s plans it was quite clear that Mourinho did not fancy him as a player. Soon the ‘Special One’ grew tired of KDB’s constant ‘whinging’ (as Jose put it recently) about his lack of game time. So off to Wolfsburg he went. 

A fee of £18 million saw Chelsea turn a neat profit of £11m on a player who had only managed to play a total of 3 games for the club. On the face of it Chelsea looked to have done a good bit of business. However, KDB like Daniel Sturridge before him has gone on to prove that their really is life after Stamford Bridge. 

Another stellar season in Germany saw his stock rise further as Wolfsburg qualified for the Champions League in the 2013/14 season. A smart move indeed by the German team.

2014/15 was an even better season for the young Belgian as again Wolfsburg qualified for Europe’s premier competition and KDB won the Bundesliga Player of the Year. A quite considerable feat when playing for an unfashionable club in a league with high calibre players such as Robben, Ribery, Muller et al. 

Flush with their oil money and less restricted by FFP, Man City in desperate need to strengthen their team further identified Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling and KDB as the attacking talent to take them to the next level domestically but more specifically in Europe. At a potential total cost of over £100m that is some bet! 

So what will Man City be getting for £56m. In truth I don’t know and only keen observers of the Bundesliga could really tell us. In 80 games in Germany (while on loan at Bremen and the latterly with Wolfsburg) KDB scored 23 goals in 80 games while playing as an attacking midfielder. Not a bad ratio given the standard of the league. 

Wolfsburg have played their hand well and are now £28m better off as a result of their astute to decision to take the Belgian off Chelsea’s hands. Chelsea are looking less smart than when then originally sold KDB. Their rivals are stronger and they will now have an opposing player itching to prove the special one wrong. What are the odds now on City pipping Chelsea to the title? You don’t have to be the best book maker in the world to realise that they have tilted in City’s favour.

At least they can be comforted by the sell on clause in the Wolfsburg deal. Oh wait a minute they forgot to include one! 

Top 4 Premier League Predictions by Footie Quiz

EPL Quiz

As per last year I am going to put my neck out and tell you who I believ will be the winners and the losers of the 2015/16 Premier League Season in the race for the top 4.

Winners – Man City

Given the ease with which Chelsea secured the title last year many may feel this a surprise prediction. But Chelsea had an almost perfect season last year out with top class additions in the form of Fabregas and Costa hitting the ground running and improving the level of an already very good team. I don’t believe the same is likely to happen again this year and with question marks remaining over Costa’s fitness I feel Chelsea will find this seasons EPL Quiz campaign much harder. City on the other hand in my opinion can only improve on last year’s performance. The addition of Sterling will have many critics but he is after all one of the best young players in Europe, this will the likely arrival of De Bruyne will improve City offensively. If Auergo stays fit and Silva continues to weave his magic I think the title will be heading to the Blue Camp.

Runners Up – Chelsea

Despite tmy reservations above Chelsea are still a very good side with a great deal of strength in depth. I see them finishing second and possibly getting into the semis of the Champions League – something that will distract them from their League campaign. Jose is too good a manager to bet against.

Third – Arsenal

On paper the Gunners (bar one exception up front) have a potentially title winning team. They proved in the Charity Shield this year and last that they can beat the league winners on their day. However doubts remain for me. Giroud is good but not in the same mould/level as Aguero or Costa. The midfield is still missing that ‘bite’ that Toure or Matic bring City and Chelsea respectively. Two excellent spells broken up with a dreadful run will see them third.

Fourth – Liverpool

In disclosure I am a Liverpool fan! My view is that as things stand Liverpool can only ever be better than last season and the signings brought in by Rodgers indicate as such. A lot will depend on two things:

1. If Rodgers still has a job after 10 games given how unkind the fixture list has been to Liverpool with regards to away games early on.

2. How Liverpool fare against United in the North West Derbies.

United have also strengthened but as things stand they only have one recognised striker in Rooney. An injury to him and what then? United were worthy of their fourth place last year but they also had no European football to contend with. I see this as a rocky challenging season for the Red Devils. The Premier League odds don’t agree with my views but whose would have foresaw Liverpool nearly winning the league in 2013/14? Odds eh?

The massive influx in TV money from the Sky deal will see all EPL teams improve in quality making the race for the Top 4 even harder than ever before. A couple of years ago who would have thought that Stoke City  would be able to sign former Bayern starlet Shaqiri? The EPL is the league to be in as it pays and as a result it will mean that those challenging for the top 4 not being able to take any team for granted.

Lets the games commence!