Kevin de Bruyne to Manchester City: Former Chelsea midfielder emerges as top target after City accept defeat in Paul Pogba battle

De Bruyne will meet with Wolfsburg officials next week where he is expected to ask them to listen to any realistic offers received this summer

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The Independent Football

Manchester City are beginning to accept that they face an uphill battle to persuade Paul Pogba to leave Juventus and snub the likes of Barcelona and Chelsea, but are confident that they will be successful in their pursuit of Kevin De Bruyne.

Reports in Spain claim that Pogba has already verbally agreed to join Barcelona in 2016 once the Catalans’ transfer embargo is lifted, but Italian newspaper Gazetta dello Sport contradicted those reports by revealing Juventus have turned down an €80m offer from the European champions.

Juventus’ managing director Giuseppe Marotta admitted that, after meeting with two Barcelona officials, a bid was made for Pogba but immediately rejected by the Italian club.

Marotta told Gazetta dello Sport: "We received an offer of €80 million but I can affirm that Pogba will not be sold."

 

But the fact that Barcelona are pressing on with their interest has led City to fear that they have lost the race to convince Pogba where his future lies, and according to the Daily Mail, the Premier League side will press on with other transfer plans.

One of those could see former Chelsea midfielder Kevin de Bruyne return to the Premier League should City agree a fee for the Belgium international. De Bruyne will meet with Wolfsburg officials next week to start talks over a new contract, but it’s believed that the 24-year-old will ask the Bundesliga club to listen to offers for him should any be received this summer.

De Bruyne is tied down to the German club until 2019, but Wolfsburg are keen to fend off interest from City, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain by awarding him an improved deal following his 16 goals and incredible 29 assists last season.

Speaking to Sport1 earlier this week, Wolfsburg’s sporting director Klaus Allofs said: "Kevin has a contract until 2019, so the signal has already been sent out. He will stay with us. We've said we will look at his contract.

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De Bruyne lifts the German Cup at the end of last season

"The aim is to take into account financially Kevin's extraordinary development. The best players should earn the best wages. We will make an offer to him and I think we will reach an agreement here very quickly."

When asked if De Bruyne would leave before his contract expires in 2019, Allofs added: "We don't look that far into the future. Football develops so rapidly that it is mere speculation if you look more than a year ahead.

"What happens with Kevin next year will depend on Kevin's development and just as much on the development of VfL Wolfsburg. If we are as successful as we have been last season there are not so many reasons to leave us."

Pogba.jpg
City look likely to miss out on Pogba

However, De Bruyne’s agent Patrick de Koster fanned the flames by admitting he doesn’t know what the future holds at the moment, and hinted that De Bruyne’s camp are looking for a big offer following his tremendous season last time out.

“Will Kevin definitely stay with Wolfsburg? I await their proposal. Let the club prove that he is incredibly important and that they themselves are ambitious,” said De Koster.

“They can call if they have a top offer prepared. It could turn out to be a ridiculous proposal.”

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