On this day in 2015, Kevin De Bruyne signed for Manchester City from Wolfsburg.
The £55million fee, a club record at the time, has proved to be an absolute bargain for one of the Premier League’s greatest ever players.
The 30-year-old joined Wolfsburg from Chelsea, where he struggled to find game time under Jose Mourinho, who underrated his qualities as a potential world-class midfield player. He started only five games for the London club – two in the Premier League and three in the League Cup – and was sent on loan to Werder Bremen before completing a permanent transfer to Wolfsburg.
De Bruyne, then 24, said: “I want to reach the highest level possible as a player, and I think the most important thing is that at the end of the season, we can be happy and maybe have some titles.”
With regular minutes in the Bundesliga, it became clear that Mourinho had made a massive mistake as Chelsea boss, instantly announcing himself as a player with decisive technical ability.
After an outstanding season where the Belgian added ten goals to a mindboggling 21 assists in the league that put the whole world on notice, City decided to splash the cash on a player who is now considered one of the best in world football.
The City favourite has taken to Twitter to express his delight in celebrating five years at the Etihad, mentioning the 11 trophies he has won as a Blue.
De Bruyne became the fourth arrival to the club in the summer of 2015, following in the footsteps of current teammate Raheem Sterling in joining Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
Then-City boss Pellegrini stated: “It takes a special player to improve our squad.
“We like to play attacking, attractive football. Bringing in a player like this will only aid us.
“He has all of the mental, physical, tactical and technical attributes required to fit straight in.”
The Chilean manager – affectionately known as ‘the engineer’ in his home country owing to his degree in civil engineering – proved to be on the money with his verdict on De Bruyne, who has developed into a player not only known for his technical ability but his dominating physical stature.
It is under Pep Guardiola where De Bruyne has made the biggest step, with Guardiola describing him as the best midfielder in the world. The Belgian has won both PFA Player of the Season awards for the past two seasons, highlighting his respect among players in the Premier League.
He has made 178 league appearances for City, scoring 42 goals over the five-year stint. In that time, he has collected three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, five League Cups and been a Champions League runner-up.