Friday, September 29, 2023

Barcelona Turn Attention Towards 21-Assist Manchester City Man: Better Option Than Coutinho?

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Anirban Sarkar
Anirban Sarkar is a former columnist of The 4th Official. A huge East Bengal fan and has travelled over 1000 miles to see his team in action.

Kevin De Bruyne’s breathtaking form this season has taken the Premier League by storm and the Belgian playmaker is a big contender for ‘the player of the season’ award, provided he maintains his level throughout the season. Pep Guardiola’s influence on the player is clearly visible as he has been almost untouchable in every game.

The Belgian playmaker is Manchester City’s main player this season but reports have emerged that Barcelona could make a raid in near future for the Belgian international. Following the departure of Neymar, who made a world record move to Paris Saint Germain, Barcelona did rope in Ousmane Dembele as his replacement but they were very unlucky as the French teenager has been sidelined for a prolonged period.

The Catalans’ first choice has always been Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho but his signing could be a bit complex given Jurgen Klopp’s reluctance in releasing the player. The Spanish giants had three bid rejected for the player and although they are expected to renew their interest in the Brazilian playmaker, they are keeping their options open for alternative choices.

Guardiola reestablished Barcelona on the football map with his fluent passing and attacking game plan during his time in Spain and he has implicated a similar philosophy at the Etihad Stadium. So if De Bruyne does move, he won’t have to tweak much of his gameplay and would be able to acclimatise with the Spanish conditions quite easily.

City have expressed their intentions in tying the player to a brand new contract and the current contract situation is pretty suitable for both the parties. The 26-year-old has three years left on his current contract and currently pockets about £140,000 at the Etihad Stadium but he is set for a pay rise and is expected to be the highest paid player at the club in the near future.

De Bruyne has the flair to surpass Coutinho’s quality and the prospect of lining up with Lionel Messi might tempt him for a move. Pep Guardiola would try his best to stop his former employer in making a move for the player.

The 26 year also is likely to cost much lesser than Coutinho, which could be another reason why the Catalans are looking at him as an alternative. Andres Iniesta has signed lifetime contract at the Nou Camp recently but the club needs to find an able successor to him and De Bruyne does have the quality to be his ideal heir.

But can Barca lure him to Camp Nou?

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