Kevin De Bruyne: the Premier League's best midfielder
It’s not much of a debate anymore. Kevin de Bruyne is absolutely the most gifted attacking midfielder in the Premier League. The Belgian has and is still proving why he leads the pack among Premier League footballers who make things happen from the middle of the pitch.
In August 2015, Manchester City signed De Bruyne from Wolfsburg. The Citizens, led by Manuel Pellegrini, wanted an attacking midfielder who could manufacture goals. They found their man in the blonde Belgian midfielder.
At that point, De Bruyne had been outstanding in the Bundesliga. The German league's top assist provider in 2014-15, he was named Bundesliga player of the year twice.
It was easy to see the train of thought coming from the rich boys at the Etihad. A player doing do well with a modest team in Germany would do even better playing for a team full of superstars in England. They were absolutely correct. De Bruyne has been the English league's best attacking midfielder since he arrived.
The stats don't lie
The eye test allows us to be sentimental regarding our favourite players, but we simply cannot argue with the statistics. They favour De Bruyne.
Last season, KDB provided 18 assists. No Premier League player outdid him in that aspect. He also scored six league goals. This season, De Bruyne has continued where he left off. In 18 matches he's tacked up 8 assists and already matched his goal output from 2016-17. He's not only the best; he's improving.
Week in, week out, KDB does something spectacular for Manchester City. He’s central to everything Pep's team does in attack.
Worth every penny
When the media caught wind of the price City paid for De Bruyne, many considered it further reckless spending from the lavish Citizens. He became City’s record signing, and the Premier League’s second most expensive player at the time. Thirty-six Premier League assists later,no one dares question his price tag anymore.
When you consider the fact Gylfi Sigurdsson was priced at £50 million by Swansea, De Bruyne looks cheap at £55m. The Belgian has been worth every penny.
Delivering City the title
Raheem Sterling has been popping up with some amazing goals this season, no less than a half-dozen late stunners; but the admittedly improved Englishman hasn't been plucking strikes from thin air. It’s been De Bruyne pulling the strings. Guardiola’s men have remained unbeaten in 18 games, amassing a record 52 points over that period, thanks to the Belgian's calm, collected creativity.
Many have said Pep has built the perfect Premier League side. As United have been a distinctly lesser team without Paul Pogba, one has to wonder how City would fare without its ginger midfielder?
Not good enough for Chelsea
Chelsea fans must be looking at De Bruyne as the one who got away. Like Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku, De Bruyne was also deemed not good enough for Chelsea. The young Belgian was only afforded three games with the London club before being shipped away on loan, then sold to Wolfsburg in 2014. Two years later he returned to England. He hasn’t stopped haunting the Blues since. His goal proved the difference in their lone meeting thus far in the current campaign.
Kevin De Bruyne has grown into one of the most technically efficient midfielders on parade in the Premier League. Chelsea will continue to rue letting him slip through their fingers. City will remain ecstatic their rivals did.