Can Premier League Champs Manchester City Replace Kevin De Bruyne?

Kevin De Bruyne was terrific for Manchester City last season, as he helped them to secure their first Premier League title under boss Pep Guardiola.

For me, if it wasn’t for Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah then I think the Belgian maestro would’ve taken all the top individual player awards.

The numbers speak for themselves: De Bruyne ended the last campaign with two winner’s medals, scored twelve goals, created at least twenty assists, had an 83% passing success rate and on average made around 73 passes per league game.

The Belgian international would then go on and enjoy his World Cup experience and was all set for this year’s domestic campaign.

But unfortunately for Man City fans pictures surfaced this week of Kevin hobbling around in crutches. The club have since announced that the flamboyant midfielder will miss the next three months due to a lateral collateral ligament lesion in his right knee.

During his press conference earlier, Pep stated:

“He will be a big miss,”

“It is not easy to replace Kevin,”  

“We are going to try and do our best without him and try to be there by the time he returns.”

Going back to Kevin’s stats from last term and you have to agree with Guardiola’s assessment.

History tell’s you that City could struggle without the playmaker, the last time De Bruyne missed a significant period of game time City lost five games out of twelve.

Yet if any team in England’s top flight could survive without the twenty-seven year old’s influence then it’s probably The Citizens.

New summer signing Riyad Mahrez was brought in to help the side create more chances and to get his name on the scoresheet too. But the Algerian is a direct operator on the wings, he probably won’t drift as much as De Bruyne.

Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane had very successful season’s last year and they both scored and had plenty of assists during the title winning campaign. They’ll be asked to do the same again this time around.

Having someone floating and creating in and around the centre is the gap that Pep needs to fill.

David Silva is already a club legend and we all know that he can be majestic as a free-minded attacking midfielder. An issue for David, is age and wear and tear.

The Spaniard missed the opening game of the season but Guardiola believes that the veteran should be fit enough to face Huddersfield Town.

Another major plus for Man City is that the thirty-two year old has recently announced his retirement from international football. That news should hopefully keep him fit and fresh for the next few years at The Etihad.

Bernardo Silva, is another creative talent.

The Portuguese international played in the floating number ten role and scored The Sky Blues winner at The Emirates. The twenty-four year old also provided an assist in his side’s win over Chelsea in the Community Shield.

Last season seemed to be a transitional one for Bernardo and he was always seen as being David Silva’s long-term replacement. He has already started this campaign with a bang but he’ll need to do that consistently if City are to cope without De Bruyne.

Another name that will pop up is Ilkay Gundogan. The German middle-man clearly has all the attributes to be a star for the Manchester side but alas his City career has been continually stop start due to severe injury problems. He hasn’t started in more than fifteen league games for the English champions in either of his first two seasons at The Etihad.

Ilkay did come through the full ninety minutes against The Gunners on the opening weekend, so hopefully he can finally put those injury problems behind him and he can start pulling the strings from midfield.

Then there’s the exciting English youth prospect Phil Foden.

The eighteen year old broke into the club’s Premier League first team last year, making five league appearances in total. He’s an energetic performer who can dribble the ball beyond opponents, has the vision to find a key pass and he possess a maturity that you wouldn’t expect from a teenager.

Now I doubt the youngster will be Pep Guardiola’s main replacement to fill Kevin De Bruyne’s boots but the Spanish coach isn’t a boss that’s scared to give youth it’s chance and with the Belgian maestro out I’d like to think we’ll see plenty of Foden in the next three months, to keep our appetite whetted.

Pep will also look to others in various positions to step up and take on more creative responsibilities during Kevin’s absence.

Fullback Benjamin Mendy provided both assists for Manchester City’s two goals last weekend. The French World Cup winner gives The Citizens more balance on the lefthand side.

On the other side we all know that Kyle Walker can be extremely productive going forward and provide dangerous balls into the box.

It’ll be interesting to see how Manchester City copes without De Bruyne. They’ve got plenty of stars there that can help fill the void but it will be up to Guardiola on who gets the chance and how to get the best from the squad.


One Response to “Can Premier League Champs Manchester City Replace Kevin De Bruyne?”

  1. when you say they lost 5 out of 12 that was under pellegrini who had announced he was leaving at the end of the season.

Leave a Reply