Kevin De Bruyne out 10 weeks
Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne tore knee and ankle ligaments in his club’s 3-1 win in the Capital One Cup Semifinal versus Everton on January 27. The 24 year old Belgian international tweeted about his injury, saying “Just got back from the specialist. I’ll be out for around 10 weeks.”
De Bruyne came on as a substitute in the game for Yaya Toure in the 66th minute and had an immediate impact. He scored a goal to put City 2-1 up in the 70th minute and reinvigorate his team. He then had a perfectly placed cross from a corner onto the head of Aguero to secure City’s place in the Final.
After coming on, De Bruyne had great pieces of dribbling and cuts inside to advance the play up the field, and his many runs with on the right wing stretched the pitch and made Everton have to track back on the right side, allowing City to pressure Everton on the break. The substitution was a necessary one as De Bruyne’s attacking mentality allowed City to overcome the 3-2 aggregate deficit that was advanced by Ross Barkley’s goal in the 18th minute.
The loss of Kevin De Bruyne for such a stretch of the season will be tough for Manchester City, but their squad depth is such that they have at least two high quality players at every position should one get injured. Jesús Navas will likely fill in for De Bruyne on the right wing, but the 30 year old will not be able to offer as much as his younger counterpart going forward. In 21 Premier League games this season, Navas has 0 goals and 3 assists, while De Bruyne has 5 goals and 9 assists in 19 Premier League games, and De Bruyne’s 33 shots compared to Navas’s 20 demonstrates the difference in the attacking threat between the two players.
Alternatively, Raheem Sterling could play on the right wing, although he usually plays on the left. David Silva could also play on the right, but City will need him to control the play in the center of the park instead.
After transferring for Chelsea to Wolfsburg and leading the Bundesliga in assists last season, De Bruyne transferred to Manchester City for an astonishing £54 million and immediately became one of their most valuable attacking threats. He will certainly be hard to replace for the rest of the season and his injury will weaken city’s squad depth on the right wing.
Man City will now face Liverpool in the Capital One Cup Final versus Liverpool on February 28, a meeting between Raheem Sterling’s old club which he sourly left after he felt former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers wasn’t utilizing his potential.
Based on this 10 week timeline, De Bruyne could be back by mid April, but there is a threat that he could miss European Championships for Belgium according to his agent. While De Bruyne’s goal will obviously be to get healthy for Man City’s final push at the end of the season, it will certainly be a depleted Belgium squad at the 2016 Euros without De Bruyne fit.
After it was announced that Carlo Ancelotti would take over the helm of the Bayern Munich squad next season, current manager of Bayern Pep Guardiola has been linked with a number of Premier League sides, especially Manchester City. If he were to take over from Manuel Pellegrini, Pep would likely favor a more possession based style (as he has done at both Barcelona and Bayern). It is not certain how he will choose the squad, but he will likely favor more small, attacking fullbacks than City currently employs (Kolarov, Demichelis, Zabaleta and Sagna), as well as a more dynamic attacking force that would suit the likes of Sterling, Aguero and De Bruyne.