He was labelled as a £50m flop in 2015 when Manchester City agreed a deal with Wolfsburg to sign Kevin de Bruyne. The midfielder’s previous spell with Chelsea had not turned out too great amidst reports he was unhappy and then manager Jose Mourinho accused him of crying and being homesick.
De Bruyne’s miserable spell in London ended January 2014 when he signed for Wolfsburg, returning just a year later with the blues. Yet, when the midfielder was rumoured to be on the verge of joining City, the football seers were out in force, claiming he wasn’t suited to the English game and the fee being quoted for a flop was ridiculous.
Fast forward to 2022 and de Bruyne has the Premier League at his feet. Now lauded as one of the best midfielders in the top-flight, de Bruyne has consistently produced a series of outstanding displays that has helped earn City a glut of trophies and plenty of personal accolades.
And since his return to England, de Bruyne has haunted his former club, scoring the winner in two matches and hitting another three against the west London blues. But it’s not just against Chelsea that he performs and his stats from midfield speak for themselves.
De Bruyne has a phenomenal 79 assists and 48 goals in the Premier League since signing for the club and was named Premier League Player of the Season for the 2019/20 campaign, as well as the PFA Player’s Player of the Year two seasons in succession. Team trophies include three Premier League trophies, five League Cups, one FA Cup and one Community Shield win.
Not bad for a £50m flop!
His performances have made a mockery of the football seers, none more so that a certain Paul Merson. You may recall in 2015 that the former Arsenal midfielder ranted about de Bruyne, when he labelled the fee as an ‘absolute joke’ and how the Belgian never looked like he belonged on the pitch at Chelsea.
However, Merson was forced to eat humble pie and apologise for his words in April 2021, admitting he had ‘got it horribly wrong.’ “I apologise. He’s brilliant, he’s unbelievable,” Merson gushed at the time.
Although de Bruyne struggled after contracting Covid-19, the midfielder is back to his best, hitting the winner against his former club last weekend and sending the blues ten points clear at the top of the table.
Although he is now 30, de Bruyne remains one of the best midfielders, if not the best, in the Premier League and the Belgian is showing no signs of slowing down. Much to the dismay of opposing fans and managers!