Life can be full of cruel little surprises. You lose your car keys on a work morning. Your dog has destroyed the living room, leaving chaos and wrapping paper strewn across the carpet. You check Twitter for no reason and discover that your club’s best player is suddenly set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines. For many of us that was the reality on Wednesday afternoon, when City Watch broke the news that Kevin de Bruyne had injured himself in training. While the extent of the injury hasn’t been confirmed, the early signs suggests that it looks like a bad one.
But all is not lost. Despite the absence of the Belgian, City are still favourites to win the Premier League- so if you’re the betting type, here is a great list of reputable and generous UK bookmakers to browse at your leisure. In the meantime, though, we’ve come up with three players Manchester City can use instead of Kevin de Bruyne.
The Portuguese star, who signed from Monaco last summer, is the obvious candidate to fill the KDB-shaped hole in our hearts for the next few months. The man known by some as “David Silva II” was deployed in central attacking midfield in the Wembley showdown with Chelsea earlier this month, where he outshone most of his colleagues and claimed an assist. And who could forget his goal against Arsenal last week that left the Emirates crowd silent? Sure, he may lack the physique of De Bruyne, but there’s no denying that Bernardo is a viable option. If he fulfils his potential, he could reach heights even De Bruyne would be proud of.
Some fans are, understandably, a little bit sceptical about promoting Bernardo Silva into a regular starting role. If you’re one of those who would like a slightly more experienced head in City’s midfield, look no further than the prodigious German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan. He’s a player who divides the fanbase- some think he’s terrible and the rest watch football. Granted, Gundogan is no Kevin de Bruyne, but in fairness who is? If you can look past a few sloppy performances in recent weeks, you’ll find a supremely intelligent footballer who just needs a consistent run of games to refind his best form.
Here we have the wildcard. While we haven’t even mentioned Riyad Mahrez or Raheem Sterling yet, it’s probably more likely that they’ll feature out on the wings. Foden, however- still barely old enough to buy alcohol- is a favourite of Guardiola’s, and it’s easy to see why. The teenager from Stockport has a rare and rapidly sharpening footballing brain but, just as importantly, possesses the ability to go with it. As we’ve already mentioned, De Bruyne’s shoes are big ones for anyone to fill- but the reward could justify the risk ten times over. Foden may not be ginger but the talent is certainly there.