Robbie Savage once infamously remarked that he “wouldn’t pay to watch Kevin De Bruyne” upon learning that the former-Chelsea midfielder would be joining Manchester City in a £55m move from Wolfsburg in 2015. I was at Vicarage Road on Saturday and paid £30 for the privilege, and quite frankly it was a bargain and a half.
Two and a bit years have passed since Chelsea reject De Bruyne made his debut in a sky blue shirt and we have been treated to many moments that will live long in the memory. The PSG winner, the Barca free kick, and making Old Trafford his playground all come to mind.
The critics asked questions in abundance. Can De Bruyne make it in the Premier League? Can he live up to his price tag? Those questions were answered a long time ago; he did and continues to do his talking on the pitch with his exquisite passing range, vision and shooting ability.
The question I ask now is whether De Bruyne world class? By world class, I mean the best few players per position in the game. After his performances this season so far in particular, the answer would be yes. He would get into any side in the world when on form.
To be fair to Savage, he has since retracted his nonsensical comments and said the midfielder is arguably the best player in the league. City boss Pep Guardiola tends to agree and said this week that “Kevin De Bruyne is one of the best players I’ve ever seen in my life”.
Since 2013/14, Kevin has registered 57 assists, which is more than any player in Europe’s top 5 leagues. His eye for a pass is simply outstanding, one of the best I have ever seen. When he gets his head up and looks for a man, you can see the Etihad fill with confidence. This confidence in his passing isn’t just enjoyed by the fans but the players too, as the likes of Agüero and Jesus fancy Kevin to find them more times than not.
His second-to-none passing ability isn’t all that puts him above the rest in the league, it is the way he can turn defence into attack in a matter of a second. He picks the ball up around the half way line, and within a couple of touches he is away and darting at a back line that cannot stop him.
No doubt, David Silva and Yaya Touré are the best two players I have ever witnessed in a City shirt – I am not of the age to appreciate greats from previous eras. I would go as far as saying that De Bruyne can eclipse both of these legends to be regarded as Manchester City’s best ever player. In a way, he has traits of both – the first touch and ability to play an eye of the needle ball like Silva, and the knack of turning nothing into a dangerous attack with the click of a thumb like Yaya.
The sky is the limit for De Bruyne. Every time he touches the ball, I fancy something good to come of it.
There are worries – he did have iffy patches last season, where he struggled for form. However on his day he is the best player in the league. If he has these days as often as he has so far this season, he will walk his way to the Premier League player of the year award, and could push us to the title.
There aren’t enough superlatives in the English dictionary to describe how good Kevin De Bruyne is, and how important he will be to any trophies won this season. So sign him up on that new deal, and who knows what can happen. For me, he has already broke into the world-class category, a player of the league seems a doable target too, and from there, who knows where this boy can go.
As for Savage’s comments – I would pay a lot of money to watch De Bruyne play like he has this last week for the rest of his career.