Owen Hargreaves fears Manchester City will make the same mistakes as Chelsea by playing Kevin De Bruyne in a wide role.
De Bruyne moved to the Etihad from Wolfsburg in the final week of the transfer window for a fee in the region of £55million, with the ex-Chelsea attacker having scored 15 goals and contributed 25 assists in the Bundesliga and the Champions League last season.
But due to the presence of David Silva and Yaya Toure, former Manchester City and Bayern Munich midfielder Hargreaves fears the playmaker will be shunted out to the flank – a role in which he failed to shine during his time at Chelsea.
“The team won’t be built around him at City,” Hargreaves said. ‘It’s built around Yaya Toure, David Silva and Sergio Aguero. It’ll be interesting how he fits in.
“The problem is when you play smaller teams in the Premier League they could play with three No 10s and still have 60 per cent possession.
“When you play Bayern and Real and Barca, you don’t have 60 per cent possession. They have 60 per cent like Bayern did at the Etihad last year. Then all of a sudden those guys have to do a defensive job.
Chelsea signed De Bruyne in January 2012 but immediately loaned him back to Genk. The playmaker was then sent to Werder Bremen the following season before spending the first half of the 2013-14 campaign at Stamford Bridge. De Bruyne made only three appearances in a Chelsea shirt before being sold to Wolfsburg in January 2014.
Hargreaves feels Chelsea failed to get the best out of De Bruyne because he was played in a wide role and the BT Sport pundit fears City could make the same mistake.
“Kevin is proven when he plays his position, in Belgium he was terrific, he went to Chelsea and it didn’t work out, but he was played out wide.
“He went on loan to Bremen, terrific. Then went to Wolfsburg, terrific. He’s proven if you play him in the right place he’ll do a job for you.
“At Chelsea he didn’t do what he normally does, he played out wide. And he’ll probably play out wide for City now.”