Football: De Bruyne staying with Wolfsburg this season
VfL Wolfsburg playmaker Kevin De Bruyne on Monday scotched speculation linking him with a move to Manchester City, stating he would stay with the Bundesliga club this season.
“It’s sure I’ll be playing with Wolfsburg this season,” the Belgian said during a ceremony organised by weekly Sport-Bild, where he was voted “star of the year”.
The 24-year-old insisted he would “naturally” be with ‘Wolves’ for the second round of the German Cup against league champions Bayern Munich at the end of October.
His remarks ran counter to those earlier on Monday of coach Dieter Hecking.
He said the club were bracing themselves for “14 very difficult days” until the transfer window closes as they try to fend off interest from Manchester City.
“These are going to be difficult days for all involved,” Hecking said. “And even if our days together should not continue, I would already now like to wish him all the best.”
De Bruyne joined the Volkswagen-backed club from Chelsea in the summer of 2014.
Wolfsburg had been eager to keep hold of the player to lead their Champions League challenge, but German magazine Kicker reported that City made an offer last week in excess of 60 million euros ($66.5m, £42.6m).
“Our objective is very clear, we want to keep him. There is no plan B,” said Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs after his side’s 2-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in their opening game of the new Bundesliga season on Sunday.
De Bruyne was outstanding last season as Wolfsburg finished runners-up and led to him being named Germany’s player of the year, but he struggled to produce his best on Sunday and was booed before being taken off 15 minutes from time.
“I wanted to show that we could also play without him in the last quarter of an hour,” explained Hecking. “It certainly wasn’t one of his best games.”