Kevin De Bruyne has reportedly come to a firm decision on his Manchester City future amid claims Al-Ittihad are ready to pay him eye-watering wages to tempt him to move to Saudi Arabia and link-up with Mo Salah.
The Belgian star is regarded as one of the best players in the world, having arrived in a then club-record £55m deal from Wolfsburg in summer 2015. In his time at the Etihad, De Bruyne has won 13 major honours, including the Premier League five times and finally adding the Champions League trophy in June of this year, adding an excellent 96 goals and an astonishing 128 assists from 358 appearances.
That amounts to a hugely-impressive goal contribution every 1.59 appearances – an astonishing record for a midfielder.
And not half bad considering Paul Merson branded his signing at the time as an “absolute joke” for a player who was “out of his depth at Chelsea”. The Sky Sports pundit, however, has since admitted the error of his ways in an embarrassing climbdown.
The two-time Player of the Year has, during his eight full seasons at the club, rarely seen his name linked with moves elsewhere. Ultimately, that’s because people can see he’s at the very top of his game at the Etihad, has thrived under Pep Guardiola’s management and has never once agitated for a fresh challenge elsewhere.
However, over the summer it was speculated that De Bruyne was to become the latest name being targeted by cash-rich clubs in Saudi Arabia.
City have already lost Aymeric Laporte and Riyad Mahrez to the Gulf State this summer; now there are fears that De Bruyne could join them.
De Bruyne makes decision on quitting Man City for Saudi Arabia
And while a move did not come around around this summer, fresh rumours claim Saudi side Al-Ittihad are ready to launch a major 2024 push to lure him away from the Etihad in what could prove a dream link-up with their other top target, Mohamed Salah of Liverpool.
As Liverpool saw, though ultimately withstood from Al-Ittihad with Salah, the Saudis are prepared to stop at nothing to land their man. And amid talk of wages approaching the £1.5m a week mark, it is said that De Bruyne could be tempted to make the move were a serious offer to emerge.
However, revealing De Bruyne’s stance on his future, The Sun claims De Bruyne will knock back any offers that come his way to join the Saudi gold rush.
The claim the 32-year-old dreams of finishing his career at the Etihad Stadium and will at the absolute least honour his deal, which currently still has two seasons left to run.
And rather than seek a lucrative free transfer when the time comes, De Bruyne would prefer to sign an extension to stay at City, with his young family well settled in the area and the player under the belief that he can still perform at the top level well into his mid-thirties and beyond.
Furthermore, the report claims that De Bruyne – currently sidelined with a hamstring injury until the new year – would prefer to continue in mainland Europe as opposed seeking a move to the Gulf State.
De Bruyne is currently City’s top earner earning £400,000 a week. That £20m a year deal makes him one of the Premier League’s top earners. And while he could treble those earnings in Saudi, the player knows he’s on to a good thing at City with trophies and honours mattering more to the player.