What will happen to Kevin De Bruyne?

Chelsea are blessed with an inordinate amount of ultra-talented young Belgians, 8 at the last count, of whom 4 are on loan. All of them have had generally excellent seasons, and it is Kevin De Bruyne that I’m looking at today.

Kevin De Bruyne was signed by Chelsea for £6.7m on deadline day of January 2012, but was loaned straight back to Genk for the rest of the season. Despite some impressive showings for Chelsea in pre-season, there was fierce competition for the attacking midfield roles at Chelsea, and the club decided that it was best for his development that he joined Werder Bremen on loan.

To be honest, they were probably right. Kevin De Bruyne went straight into the Werder first team, and has easily been their best player this season. He’s started every single game for Bremen, and no wonder, for he’s been truly outstanding wherever he’s been played. Thomas Schaaf has experimented quite a bit, using de Bruyne on both wings, number 10, central midfield and even as a false nine on occasions. It’s safe to say he wouldn’t have got anywhere near as many minutes at Chelsea, given that he was originally behind Marko Marin in the pecking order!

He’s repaid Bremen very well; 7 goals and 9 assists in 27 games from midfield is excellent by anyone’s standards, and for a 21 year old in his first season of top-level football in an otherwise weak Bremen team it’s incredible. He’s also got a goal and two assists in two and a half games for Belgium.

So KDB can dribble, shoot, pass and cross way above average. I think it’s fair to say that his crossing is his greatest asset; he’s averaged 2.2 accurate crosses per game with a crossing accuracy of 31% this season, which is absolutely ridiculous. In perspective, Eden Hazard has 14% accuracy, Victor Moses has 6%. KDB has an average of 3.2 successful dribbles per game this season. Mata, Hazard and Moses combined have 3.1. Oh, and he’s also well-practised in the art of telekinesis, always a useful skill to have:

Absurd stats for dribbling and crossing point towards De Bruyne being an elite old-fashioned winger in the mould of David Beckham. And is certainly fair to say there are similarities between Kevin De Bruyne and a young Beckham. They share excellent vision and accurate passing, pinpoint crossing and dead-eye free kicks, relying on skill and technique rather than blistering pace. They don’t play the same position though; Beckham was a right winger whilst De Bruyne plays more of a central attacking role, sometimes drifting out to the left. That’s been made possible by the evolution of football, 15 years ago there was no such thing as trequartistas in the Premier League, but now they’re all over the place. If Beckham had been born 15 years later, I’m sure he’d have been a creative Mata-esque attacking midfielder.

Beckham has spent most of his career on the right wing, and it’s only in the last couple of years that he’s switched to regista. This is a very plausible career path for De Bruyne. With such intense competition for the number 10 role at Chelsea, it’s likely that KDB will have to play on the wing initially. I don’t think he’ll be thrown straight into the pivot, and certainly not false nine. He always played as an inverted left winger for Genk (the role that Hazard usually plays for Chelsea) and he did it very well. When KDB loses the speed and stamina required for the wing, he could adapt to regista quite easily in the twilight of his career, just like Beckham.


If De Bruyne works hard on the training ground on his tackling and strength, I see no reason why he couldn’t make the switch to the pivot earlier in his career. The speed, dribbling, passing, creativity and eye for goal are already there, so a little more defensive solidity could transform Kevin De Bruyne into a world-class box-to-box midfielder. The best example of this is Bastian Schweinsteiger, who started his career on the right flank and was generally excellent, with accurate passing and crossing rather than burning pace being his finest attributes, much like KDB. With some tutoring from Mikel, De Bruyne could be just as good as the Bayern superstar, and probably a more complete player.

But if the hard work in training is on his speed, stamina and physique, we could end up with a truly terrifying attacker on our hands. Hard work on the track and in the weights room can only do so much for your speed, especially if you’re already an elite athlete like De Bruyne. But KDB is already reasonably fast, and an extra yard of pace would lead to the perfect winger in many ways; speed, skill, crossing, passing, finishing, set-pieces, creativity, flair, everything. If KDB was locked in the gym for a few weeks, you might get something along the lines of a much more creative, two-footed Gareth Bale with more accurate passing and crossing. Or possibly a Cristiano Ronaldo with better vision and passing. Granted, you can’t just transform someone into natural athlete like Bale or Ronaldo overnight. What can be done is take someone who is already quite quick and get them up to roughly Victor Moses levels of pace and power. If that is done to KDB, his technical ability would make him totally unplayable. Strength and stamina can be improved massively; speed is much more difficult, but possible. Forget about signing Gareth Bale, because Kevin De Bruyne can and should be miles better than Bale.


If you’d prefer it if De Bruyne sticks to what he already knows how to do and tries to make the very most of his technical qualities, we could have a similarly outstanding player on our hands. With the vision, creativity and technique that he has, Kevin De Bruyne could be as good as any attacking midfielder that has ever been seen. I’m talking about Kaka, Zinedine Zidane and Andres Iniesta. De Bruyne’s potential is so limitless that I’d be honestly surprised if he isn’t being mentioned in the same breath as the aforementioned legendary attacking midfielders within the next five years. Andres Iniesta is probably the best comparison to De Bruyne, if Lucas Piazon and Oscar are the new Kaka and Zidane respectively.


When De Bruyne returns next season, it will be very interesting to see exactly how Chelsea will use him. With the obvious lack of, and need for, a regista at Chelsea, KDB’s ability with long passes makes it very possible that he may end up playing a Xavi-esque role for Chelsea. This role doesn’t require much more than outstanding short and long passing ability, and De Bruyne certainly has that. KDB doesn’t really dictate the tempo of the game – that’s not his responsibility – but I’m sure he could. Josh McEachran is problem more naturally suited to this sort of position, but that doesn’t mean that De Bruyne or even Oscar couldn’t do it very effectively.


So there we are. Beckham, Schweinsteiger, Bale, Iniesta and Xavi all rolled into one. That is Kevin De Bruyne.

  1. pertaub says

    good player..still behind oscar hazard and mata..especially hazard..but certainly way ahead of marin and moses..but i would prefer moses to him because moses has the strength but moses needs to work his crossing..

  2. shiloh says

    great player talented he should be given a chance next season.

  3. Zane says

    Bale,beckham? No man completely wrong players to compare him with. Not even Iniesta. Compare his body to Oscar’s and you get a more physically suited player for the midfield. Even his long range passing is better so I can’t see why people want the Brazilian in the deeper midfield role.

    De Bruyne just needs to work on his defensive attributes and you can get a Xabi Alonso. He’s tall,has the vision and the passing range. I just can’t see this guy as a future winger. He is in my mind the missing piece in the puzzle for the squad.

  4. Frank okosun says

    Kvb is our answer to pirlo,he oozes class n deserve his chance in our shirt,it would be a shame if we let this gem slip thru our fingers,i hope the next gaffer includes him in his plans.

  5. oluwasegun says

    Bring back KDB, he is d answer to our double pivot problem.

  6. shakirat temitope says

    I dnt no wat Chelsea prob is,man U av 4 gud striker non of dem is loan out in some game u wl c d 4 of dem on d pitch,we av d highest players on loan,back den in Liverpool under dis Rafa dy av Players more dan any body in d league same wt spur next season y not call all dis guys back 4m loan 2 allow rolltation n avoid injury worried or suspension 2 one or two player even cech need rest

  7. Dipesh says

    No doubt he can be a great prospective ,but chelsea should not sell him ,at least he deserves a chance in chelsea line-up

  8. dozie says

    how on earth is chelsea going to fix McEachran, Oscar, Hazard, De Bruyne, Ramires, Mata and Moses. And on top of this, we are still talking of buying another player to replace Lampard.

  9. Thamvir says

    Next season I wtould like to see him on the right flank. Oscar and romeu in double pivot role and Hazard, Mata, KDB as attacking midfielders and Lukaku upfront. This will be interesting to see how the next manager uses all the players

  10. shingirai samu says

    Our future as a club looks better next season, with Yosin contract expiring at the end of the season hope the KDB will called back. One big problem is the change of managers at the club, even now we still in the dark who will be the manager.

  11. Eddy says

    KDB is so talented from what i have witnessed hez a phenomenon

  12. Ghazzal Ayobami says

    I shall look up to having him in the squard next season.

  13. Vaibhav Kumble says

    He is a must in our team next season… with Josh Mc also coming back we have a good 8 players to use in d midfield.. not including Mikel and Romeu who will be defensive. . So we will have a quality squad with depth and would be able to genuinely fight on all fronts without worrying about fatigue. . Thats y I think we should let players like benayoun and Malouda go.. send Marin on loan so he could benefit like KDB.. I do not hink we need to buy anyone.. just get the guys back from loan.. sell the ones we have not used this season and we are good.. I genuinely like Isco and would love to see him at Chelsea but I think he would be a luxury..

  14. Anas says

    If Lamps does leave 🙁 then he would be who can be our box-to-box midfielder, who needs Fellaini when we have KDB? BTW great article 🙂

  15. Anonymous says

    Well nice hope he comes back

    i want dis players 2 come back
    …Kevin de bruyne,josh mcechran,gael kakuta,lukaku,piazon
    then let dis players go
    lampard,benayoun,essien,ba,malouda ad sing isco dats it ppl

    i wanna see new young faces ad young,fresh ad new legs

  16. Small10gold says

    Mehn…KDB was a professional player… I urge mourinho to bring him back to squad

  17. Small10gold says

    Mehn…KDB was a professional player… I urge mourinho to bring him back to squad…. All our player nids 2b shifting 4 each other.,. CECH and COURTOIS.

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