It looks like this is finally happening. Bild, one of the more reliable papers in Europe, is reporting this afternoon that Wolfsburg midfielder Kevin de Bruyne will, at long last, return to the Premier League as a member of Manchester City.
The 24-year-old Belgian has agreed terms on a massive six-year deal that will pay him €20 million per season, according to Bild. It was never really in doubt that de Bruyne would agree terms once City ramped up their interest; the former Chelsea man was eager to return to England after 18 months at Volkswagen Arena, especially in light of his former manager’s recent words. The sticking point lately appeared to be exactly how much Wolfsburg could extract from City.
Seems as if we know now. Bild say that de Bruyne will cost an initial €80 million, with that fee rising to €88 million. That makes de Bruyne the fourth-most expensive player in history, and City will also smash the British transfer record to land him.
This signing makes City the favorites to win a third Premier League crown in five years. City have spent €45 million or higher on three players this summer – with the biggest sale coming in the form of Valencia making Álvaro Negredo’s loan move permanent (which was a foregone conclusion last summer anyway). A midfield trio of de Bruyne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling will be the envy of England, to say the least.
Wolfsburg are selling a great player, but they stand to make a €63 million profit after purchasing de Bruyne for about €25 million in January 2014. Not bad. However, Wolfsburg won’t have much time to reinvest this money before the close of the window, and the heart of the team has been removed with the Champions League looming. It will be very interesting to see who steps up and how the system changes with de Bruyne on his way back to England.