Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has become the highest-paid footballer in the Premier League after agreeing a new four-year contract with Manchester City which is worth £20 million a year.
The 29-year old’s current contract, which was set to expire in 2023, was worth £300,000-a-week. Having extended that contract until June 2025, he will now earn £385,000 a week, surpassing David De Gea’s £375,000-a-week deal, which was signed in 2019.
In what was a unique twist for this deal, De Bruyne opted to represent himself during the six-month negotiation period, which ended yesterday when he agreed to extend his contract until the summer of 2025.
De Bruyne rejected City’s offer in January but Director of Football at the club, Txiki Begiristain reassured the Belgian that players would be brought in to help reach his aim of winning the Champions League.
The move comes seven years after Jose Mourinho showed him the Chelsea exit door after brutally spelling out how his stats did not stack up with those of his attacking team-mates.
The Athletic reports De Bruyne commissioned a team of data analysts to study every facet of his contribution to the side and relate it to the team's chances of success going forward.
The midfielder is thought to have wanted information on his own performances and his impact on the team but also the squad's ability to continue to win trophies.
The Champions League is the only one major domestic competition missing from De Bruyne's trophy cabinet and he is desperate to be crowned a European champion.
And his research revealed not only is he evidently a key cog in the City machine but that there is no place he would rather be with the quadruple-chasing team still capable of winning honours for years to come.
In 2014, Mourinho had shunned De Bruyne by 'proving' he wasn't up to scratch by reading off his stats in front of him after calling him into his office.
The former Blues ace told Sky Sports: "Jose called me into his office in December, and it was probably the second big life-changing moment for me. He had some papers in front of him, and he said, 'One assist. Zero goals. Ten recoveries'.
"It took me a minute to understand what he was doing. Then he started reading the stats of the other attacking forwards - Willian, Oscar, [Juan] Mata, [Andre] Schurrle. And it's like - five goals, ten assists, whatever.
"Jose was just kind of waiting for me to say something, and finally I said, 'But some of these guys have played 15, 20 games. I've only played three. So it's going to be different, no?'
"It was so strange. I was completely honest. I said, 'I feel like the club doesn't really want me here. I want to play football. I'd rather you sell me.'
"I decided to go away because I felt I didn’t have any chances of playing at the time. I didn’t see more opportunities coming so for me, it was the best decision to leave Chelsea and go to a situation where I felt I could start again."
De Bruyne left Chelsea for Wolfsburg in January 2014 before 18 months later arriving at City for £54m and he is now set to complete a decade in the Sky Blue shirt.
After extending his stay in Manchester - where he feels at home - De Bruyne said: "Pep and I see football in the same way. Having that relationship with a manager is so important to me because our objectives are totally aligned, and we want the same things.
“This football club is geared for success. It offers me everything I need to maximise my performance, so signing this contract was a straightforward decision.
“I am playing the best football of my career and I honestly feel there is more to come.
“I could not be happier. Since joining City in 2015, I have felt at home. I love the fans; my family are settled here in Manchester and my own game has developed really well."
De Bruyne’s ambitions for the season are, “Win everything possible. I know we are in a good position, in a position where we can compete for these titles so hopefully at the end of the season we will have a few.”
It was reported that Spanish giants Barcelona were interested in De Bruyne but with a debt exceeding £1 billion, especially due to the COVID-19 situation, they could not negotiate a great offer.
After parting ways with his former agent Patrick De Koster last year over suspicion of money laundering, De Bruyne negotiated his contract alongside his father Herwig De Bruyne, which helped save the club agents’ fees.
Herwig De Bruyne, Kevin De Bruyne's father, commented to Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, “Kevin is very direct in everything. What he wants, he does. He didn’t always have the time to do everything himself. He gave orders like ‘Look this up… have those figures requested.’ He analysed everything on the basis of that data.
“He actually already knew most things. He just wanted an extra confirmation. He was well prepared. You felt that he had been working on it for a while.
“The amounts are what they are. If your boss offers you double tomorrow, for example, you are not going to refuse that. You shouldn’t sell yourself below your price either.
“Txiki Begiristain congratulated me because everything had gone so well. This is also an unusual situation for them. For the first time a deal with a player without anyone in between. Everything went directly through Kevin. I think this has also surprised City.”
Since joining City from Wolfsburg in 2015, De Bruyne won four League Cup titles, lifted the FA Cup in 2019 and won the Premier League twice in 2018 and 2019.
Author: Catherine Micallef