How much of an introduction does a player like Kevin De Bruyne really need? The Manchester City midfielder is one of Europe’s most exciting talents at the moment and is at the heartbeat of a City side that are competing ferociously across four fronts.
Once upon a time in the Bundesliga
De Bruyne’s quick rise to world-class prowess under Pep Guardiola was foreshadowed by his exploits in the Bundesliga with both Werder Bremen and Vfl Wolfsburg, where he spent a total of two seasons between the two clubs.
De Bruyne was the Bundesliga’s player of the season for 2014-2015 after a campaign with Wolfsburg where he tallied 10 goals and 21 assists in the league from a total of 34 appearances. Additionally, he added another 6 goals and 7 assists from a total of 17 appearances between the DFB-Pokal and Europa League, making him one of Europe’s most sought after transfer targets.
Hindsight is 20/20 for Bayern Munich
Seeing the top class player that De Bruyne has become, Bayern fans will be biting their tongues knowing that the club could have signed him back in the summer of 2015, Pep’s second season at the helm. According to a new report (via ESPN UK), a deal was being engineered by De Bruyne’s agent, Patrick De Koster during the closing stages of the summer 2015 transfer window and was on the verge of being completed. De Koster admitted, though, that Bayern found De Bruyne’s price tag too steep:
We reached a personal agreement with Bayern after two meetings. The deal collapsed on the asking price. I think that Bayern wanted to pay €50m, but not a euro more.
That summer, Bayern had brought in Arturo Vidal, Joshua Kimmich, Douglas Costa, Sven Ulreich, and Kingsley Coman for a combined total of around €87.7m, just €7m over what Manchester City inevitably paid for De Bruyne at the closing of the transfer window.
Jupp Heynckes shared his thoughts on De Bruyne last month, stating that the midfielder is the most “outstanding” player in Europe:
I would give the shirt off my back for him. You must have a player like him in his position. He is far and away the best player in Europe at the moment.
The what ifs are almost too difficult to ponder with respects to how things might have panned out had De Bruyne gone to Bayern and whether, perhaps, that might have convinced Guardiola to stay for at least another season. Nonetheless, De Bruyne is just another case of a retrospectively missed opportunity for Bayern, who have yet to spend more than €41.5m on any one player. Corentin Tolisso has been their most expensive signing to date (signed from Lyon in the summer of 2017).