To round up the 2012-13 youth football season at Chelsea, we’re reviewing every single one of the Chelsea youngsters currently on the books who have spent time out on loan during the campaign. Here, we focus on Kevin De Bruyne.
Club: Werder Bremen (Germany)
Appearances: 34 (10 goals)
De Bruyne is one of a few Chelsea loanees who many supporters would have loved to see in London this season instead of hundreds of miles away in Germany. His proven versatility – being able to play anywhere in central or attacking midfield and use both feet well – would have been a boon to a Blues squad which struggled under the weight of its longest ever fixture list, and his impressive production at Werder Bremen only rubbed salt into the wound.
The Belgian was the club’s outstanding player in a relegation-threatened season and put up some impressive statistics; ten goals and nine assists alongside some excellent passing and dribbling rates. There were times he appeared to be carrying the team on his back, especially given beleaguered manager Thomas Schaaf regularly moved him around the team in a bid to change shape and arrest poor spells of form. Regardless of the merits of sending him away, he’s doubtless a better player now for the experience.
It’s striking just how quickly he does everything; he’s dynamic in so many senses of the word. He’s blessed with sharp acceleration, he loves to play quick and incisive passes, and always appears to a step ahead of things mentally, seemingly seeing things others don’t. When he’s put in front of goal, he’s instinctive and unerring in his accuracy. He’s wonderfully complete for his tender age.
He’s also emerged as Belgium’s in-form player as the Red Devils look to qualify for a first World Cup Finals in twelve years. They’re firmly on track to be in Brazil in 2014 and whilst their squad features the likes of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Christian Benteke and others, it’s De Bruyne who has stood up and made himself counted when it’s mattered most. He’s had an outstanding campaign by any standards.
Unfortunately, whilst most clubs would take full advantage of such development and reap the rewards themselves, Kevin’s future at Chelsea is as up in the air as it ever has been. His Bundesliga performances have not gone unnoticed and he’s attracted attention from leading lights in Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund, who may well go into next season as defending European Champions.
De Bruyne himself has been quiet, but his agent has regularly expressed that all he wants to do is play regularly. If Chelsea won’t guarantee him a consistent place next season, he could depart to a better club on loan – certainly one playing in Europe and ideally the Champions League – or even on a permanent basis if there’s a good enough offer and if the player is inclined to force the issue.
It would be a crying shame to lose a player of such gifted ability and talent without having ever had the chance to see him strut his stuff in SW6, but it wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened in recent years, so Chelsea fans are quite understandably nervous whilst awaiting to discover his fate.