As I’ve already written a player profile on André Schürrle last week, I’m going to do a player report about Kevin De Bruyne this week. There’s a relation between those two players with Chelsea, even if both have never played together and both have never played for Chelsea in an official (De Bruyne only in friendly matches) match. But as the media is speculating that Schürrle is on his way to Chelsea, De Bruyne could be transferred to Schürrle’s current club, Bayer Leverkusen on loan. Kevin De Bruyne is also linked with other Bundesliga teams as Dortmund or Schalke. So much for the transfer situation of both players, let’s get to Kevin De Bruyne’s profile. NOTE: This is just a player profile about De Bruyne and not my opinion on the situation between Schürrle and De Bruyne.
Born in Drongen (28. June 1991, age 21), Kevin de Bruyne, simply known as KDB, started his career at his hometown club KVV Drongen. He joined Gent and afterwards Genk as a youth and made his first team debut in May, 2009 at Genk. The following season (09/10), KDB became regular starter and played 25 games, but only score one goal. 10/11 was much more successful for De Bruyne, by scoring 4 goals and making 9 assists in 22 games. He reached his peak in Genk in 11/12 by scoring 8 goals and making 10 assists in another 22 league games and put the big European clubs in attention to sign him. He played in the Champions League last season and also faced Chelsea twice without being successful in scoring in the Champions League. In January 2012, his transfer to Chelsea was announced by a fee about 7 million£. He played the pre-season at Chelsea average, so he was loan out to Werder Bremen. He currently scored 6 goals and made 9 assists in 30 league games for Werder Bremen.
Making his national team debut in 2010, he scored 2 goals in 11 games for his nation.
Position/Style of play
Playing mostly on the left wing for Genk, De Bruyne adapted himself well at Werder Bremen from the beginning position wise due to his enormous flexibility in the midfield. Werder Bremen’s manager Thomas Schaaf, working at Werder Bremen since 1999, is known for using the 4-4-2 diamond (4-1-2-1-2) formation, but for this season he changed the formation to a 4-3-3 at the beginning of the season, now also playing a 4-2-3-1.Unlike being used mostly on the wings at Genk, he played as a CM in the 4-3-3, as a left-mid or central attacking midfielder in the 4-2-3-1 at Werder Bremen. He still goes down the wings a lot even if he plays in central position now.
KDB is the kind of player who can make the game faster and more direct towards goal. His nice technique, strength on the ball and unbelievable good crosses makes him dangerous also down the wing. All of Bremen’s 3 midfielders are very variable playable. It’s not uncommon that they shift to a much wider position and secure more space for more area in the build-up. A weakness of such kind of occupation of area is that the defence can be outplayed easily, because the middle isn’t well covered and a collective defending isn’t possible. Therefore, a lot of space is left for the opponent’s offence and no wonder, Bremen conceded the most in the Bundesliga together with Hoffenheim (59 goals).
Of course, De Bruyne can’t be responsible for this miserable defence, but it shows that De Bruyne gets more freedom and less responsibility (by meaning he’s allowed to lose the ball and try things like dribbling or difficult passes which highly possible end in losing ball) in the offence, which he won’t have at Chelsea and that he doesn’t have a lot of defensive works to do, because he isn’t really good at defending. I’m not saying that he doesn’t work a lot, because he does work a lot, but he concentrates himself mostly only on the offence and neglects the defence.
Dribbling and ball control: He’s always got a nice touch on the ball, keeping the ball near to him. He combines his technical strength of controlling the ball and his pace. He not only can get through on the wings; he also tries a lot from through the middle.
Crossing and long balls: His technique to pass long a ball is just brilliant. The speed, the accuracy and the path of his passes are a great threat to the opponent’s defence.
Vision: Together with his strength to play long balls, his great vision makes these long balls enormously dangerous and accurate. He doesn’t try to play the easy ball very often, but rather through balls to the striker. His great vision pays off extremely well at dead ball situations, where his freekicks and corners finding the own player very often.
Calmness & tranquility: I notice a lot how De Bruyne sometimes gives the ball away too easy by trying too much. In some situations he has to play more secure and cleverer, but it will come by gaining more experience, especially now playing more in a central position. Maybe he has to look that he doesn’t try to dangerous things at Chelsea, if he really plays beside Mikel.
Defence: A major job for a central midfielder is the defensive work. I don’t know if Thomas Schaf release KDB from the defensive duties, but if he do so, the reason behind this decision may be his weakness at defending. If KDB is found in a defensive position at defending, I can’t say that he’s doing a good job, because he is not a good tackler, his heading is poor and his marking isn’t well either. He may win balls at interceptions, but that happens more randomly than wanted.
What De Bruyne’s role at Chelsea would be
Many want to see KDB beside Mikel in the CM/CDM. A question is, if De Bruyne is suited for a deeper role as he’s playing CM in Bremen more oriented in the offense. Surely he can play key passes from a more defensive position to make the build-ups more fluent and smoothly, but his weakness in the defence will be a problem. He will play a very big role if he can solve his passivity in the defence, because he’s got raw qualities in the defence.
De Bruyne can also get a place in the offensive midfield, being able to play in all three offensive positions. He can play as creative winger benefiting from his vision and strength in dribbling. Or he can also be used as a flexible forward right behind the striker to create more chances for the striker and for himself too.
I really can’t judge the role De Bruyne is going to have here if he’s coming back because he’s just too flexible and adaptive to the team. I think he’ll play as a CM, having the job to connect the defence and offence as many have already suggested. We are still in big need for a deep lying playmaker and I think KDB is going to do this well, not necessary right from the beginning, but by time.
I’m really excited what KDB can bring to Chelsea, if he’ll come back to Chelsea again. Many teams are interested in De Bruyne, but he definitely should get a chance to prove himself at the Bridge. He’s still a very young player with deficits, but he’s got massive potential to be a first team player and also play a major role at Chelsea, if he can impress as a central-midfielder.
Do let me know what you guys think about KDB. Jonny (@jonny9fan)