Wolfsburg have travelled to England to participate in the pre-season Emirates Cup at Arsenal's home ground, but Manchester City are hoping to capitalise most on the visit by launching a move for Kevin De Bruyne.
The former Chelsea midfielder has a point to prove to the Premier League after Chelsea sold him having made just nine appearances for the Blues. The Belgian midfielder left England in 2014, having spent the 2012/13 season in Germany on a loan spell with Werder Bremen, and it was Wolfsburg who snapped him up in an £18m deal.
However, the 24-year-old has quickly gone about rebuilding his promising career and led Wolfsburg to second in the Bundesliga last season with 16 goals and an incredible 24 assists in all competitions, with the club qualifying for the Champions League group stage in the process.
However, that has triggered intense speculation over his future and in particular a move to City, with fees upwards of £50m being reported this summer. Wolfsburg officials have already spoken of their desire to tie De Bruyne down to an improved, long-term contract, but the midfielder has so far failed to commit his future to the German club.
According to the Manchester Evening News, City will seek to take full advantage of De Bruyne’s visit to London this weekend by sending director of football Txiki Begiristain to hold talks with De Bruyne’s agent, Patrick De Koster, who has also travelled to the UK.
Begiristain did not travel with the City squad to Australia for their pre-season tour – where they lost to Real Madrid 4-1 in Melbourne on Friday in front of nearly 100,000 fans – and it was believed that he had remained at home to tie up the deal for former Fulham starlet Patrick Roberts.
However, the 18-year-old has already joined up with the squad along with new signings Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling, and made his City debut in a late cameo against Real. Begiristain will not fly out to meet up with the squad though, and is instead attempting to negotiate a move for De Bruyne that will take City’s spending beyond the £100m mark this summer.The potential £49m move for Sterling has been topped up by the £8m addition of Delph and £2m-rising-to-£11m deal for Roberts, taking City’s outlay this summer to a maximum of £68m, and Wolfsburg are demanding £60m in order to open negotiations with De Bruyne, although City would rather seal a transfer closer to £40m.
Meanwhile, both Yaya Toure and Fabian Delph have flown back to the UK after picking up injuries in the heavy loss to Real. Delph lasted just 18 minutes on his debut before having to be stretchered off the Melbourne Cricket Ground pitch after suffering a hamstring injury. Toure meanwhile was clattered into by Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas, and he was lucky not to be seriously hurt when the Costa Rican launched out of his goal only to completely miss the high ball and poleaxe both Toure and his own defender Sergio Ramos.Reuse content