Sunday, 26 April 2015

Man City poised to lose out on Kevin De Bruyne as Bayern Munich appear favourites to sign Wolfsburg midfielder


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Manchester City transfer target Kevin De Bruyne could end up staying in the Bundesliga
Manchester City transfer target Kevin De Bruyne 
could end up staying in the Bundesliga 
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Manchester City are facing defeat in their attempt to sign the Wolfsburg midfielder Kevin De Bruyne following Bayern Munich’s emergence as rivals for the Belgium international.

Txiki Begiristain, City’s director of football, has held discussions with De   Bruyne’s representatives and watched the former Chelsea player in action in recent weeks, having identified the 23-year-old this season as a target for the summer.

But De Bruyne, who made just nine appearances for Chelsea after a £7 million transfer from Genk in January 2012, has made it clear that he wishes to stay in Germany, with Wolfsburg keen to extend his contract to keep him at the club until 2020.

De Bruyne played just nine games for Chelsea before he joined Wolfsburg
De Bruyne played just nine games for 
Chelsea before he joined Wolfsburg
City had been battling with Paris St-Germain in an effort to prise De Bruyne from Wolfsburg, who have been given the financial backing of owners Volkswagen to resist attempts from wealthy rivals to sign the player. But Wolfsburg are prepared to sell De Bruyne for an offer in the region of £45  million, which will not deter Bayern but could force City to pursue other targets.

De Bruyne has scored 15 goals in 44 appearances for Wolfsburg in all competitions this season. Ten have come in the Bundesliga to help the club climb to second, 12 points behind Bayern. But while Wolfsburg are confident that they can fend off interest from City and PSG, Bayern’s readiness to test the player’s resolve has raised the prospect of De Bruyne leaving.

City, meanwhile, boosted their hopes of securing Champions League qualification for next season by moving seven points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool with the 2-0 home win against West Ham on Sunday.

Despite the result, City goalkeeper Joe Hart admits that last season’s champions have heavily underperformed this year. “We are not in the place where we wanted to be,” Hart said. “We wanted to be really challenging for the title, like we’ve done in previous years.



City players celebrate taking the lead against West Ham on Sunday
City players celebrate taking the lead 
against West Ham on Sunday
“We’ve let ourselves down at key moments. This season, a lot of games we’ve played well, but teams have tended to raise their game against us. It’s just how it is and that’s not me moaning. It’s just a difficult league to win. I don’t think the champions label makes it any more difficult or any easier. If we could blame that, it would be the easy way out. We just haven’t performed in certain moments. That’s this league for you, it’s tough. We accept that, but we’ve got the squad to put it right.

“Everyone has bad games – I’ve had plenty. We are not little kids. It’s well documented, we’ve got an experienced squad and we’ve got people who have been through a lot of ups and downs. But there is so much more we can achieve. We’ve only just started and we’ve got a lot more history to create.”

With Liverpool having a game in hand on City, Manuel Pellegrini’s team remain uncertain of a top-four finish. Hart admits it would be unthinkable for the club to miss out on qualification for Europe’s premier competition. “It is [unthinkable] for the way we think, the way we plan and the way this club is set up,” Hart said. “We’ve just got to win our games. Whether we are runaway leaders or in eighth place, that would still be the aim.

“The good thing with this team is that it’s not down to lack of effort or desire. Sometimes, you have bad games – that’s football, but we feel quite safe in the dressing room that we’ve got each others’ backs.

“Sometimes, people need a gee up, some people need to be criticised. We’ve been together a long time now and we make sure we know how to get the best out of each other.”

The Telegraph