Manchester City FC

Soccer Saturday's terrible assessment of Kevin De Bruyne's arrival at Man City in 2015

Max Cooper
Apr 7, 2021, 3:30 PM GMT+1
De Bruyne has proven his doubters wrong since joining Man City in 2015
De Bruyne has proven his doubters wrong since joining Man City in 2015 | GLYN KIRK/Getty Images
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The internet is an unforgiving place with a long old memory, and the Soccer Saturday crew of 2015 have discovered that after a video of them discussing Manchester City's signing of Kevin De Bruyne resurfaced on Wednesday morning.

Why did it return into the public eye? Well, the Belgian superstar has signed a contract extension with the Citizens, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2025. As far as good news goes in football, securing the long-term future of the best playmaker in the world is up there.

Premier League Kevin De Bruyne Home Alone GIF by Manchester City - Find & Share on GIPHY

Right now, there is no one better than De Bruyne at making a team tick, and his unstoppable influence over Man City has led to the brink of a Champions League semi-final, and an almost-guaranteed third Premier League title in six years.

So, now aged 29, it seems as though De Bruyne has decided to devote the best part of his career to the English side, and will go down as one of the best signings in Premier League history - a snip at £55m.

However, the deal struck in August 2015 did not convince everyone at the time. Many remembered De Bruyne's initial struggles at Chelsea as a raw youngster, and saw his move to Wolfsburg as a sign that he wasn't cut out for the English top flight.

Some balked at the transfer fee Man City stumped up, only 18 months after Wolfsburg had snared him for a bargain £18m. And the deal's biggest critics were regular pundits on our TV screens, whose opinion we valued just as much as our own.

Soccer Saturday trio Jeff Stelling, Paul Merson and Phil Thompson were be forced to laugh with egg on their faces on Wednesday, after footage of them discussing De Bruyne's move to Man City has made them look very silly indeed.

Asked to weigh in on the signing, none of them were convinced by the Belgian midfielder's talents, and thought the transfer fee was ridiculous.

"The world's going mad, isn't it?" began Thompson. "When you look at the amount of money they are paying for this boy, it's just absolutely bonkers.

"He's a good player, but is he a great player in that respect?" Thompson pondered.

The pundit had a point, in fairness. De Bruyne isn't a great player. He's world class.

Next up was the wise Merson, who was asked whether Jose Mourinho had been wrong to allow De Bruyne to leave Chelsea in 2014.

"I didn't think so," the ex-Arsenal star said. "I didn't think he did it at Chelsea, I don't think he got loads of chances but he didn't look part of the Chelsea way at the time, and I think it was right for him to go.

"If you're buying someone for £8m and selling them for £10m profit, it's a no-brainer for me. I don't see £50m for this player. And this is someone who was at the top club in England, Chelsea, playing there and didn't click.

"He's played here before at a top team with top players."

In fairness to Merson, Mourinho did decide De Bruyne wasn't good enough for Chelsea, and ruled him out of his plans at Stamford Bridge. He must have seen something, I suppose.

At the same time though, Mourinho also saw to it that forward Romelu Lukaku was sold in 2014, and sent Mohamed Salah out on loan twice, publicly criticising the Premier League and Champions League winner. So yeah, make of that what you will...

In typical Merson style, he rounded off his monologue with an absolute gem.

"Honestly Jeff, I thought it was lira."

Lira, being the Italian currency which was replaced by the Euro in 2002, and has nothing to do with a transfer between a German and an English club.

No-brainer really was the best description of this particular conversation...

Charlie Nicholas must be feeling pretty smug this morning, having kept his mouth shut during that outrageous comedy sketch. He's got enough on his plate anyway, coming up with fresh Specsavers gags.

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