From not making the grade at Chelsea to setting the Premier League alight in his first season at Manchester City, Kevin De Bruyne could be something special, if, of course, he isn’t already.
The Belgian, who is still just 24 years old, has big potential, and the move to City could be his big chance to show the world what he’s made of.
He has been very impressive so far in England, but it didn’t all go his way in his last spell in this country.
After being signed from Genk in 2012, De Bruyne went through various loan spells in both Belgium and Germany, before Jose Mourinho said he wanted him back at Chelsea, and so he returned to London for the start of the 2013/14 season.
However, it was suggested that De Bruyne was promised more game time than he actually got, and after just half a season and very little game time, the Belgian took it upon himself to tell Mourinho that he wanted to leave.
And in January 2014, his time at Chelsea was up, as Wolfsburg brought him to Germany for a fee of £15m.
This move, De Bruyne thought, would give him a significantly increased chance of playing at the World Cup that summer, and it seemed to work a treat as the Belgian had an exceptional qualifying campaign, dazzling defences with goals, assists and all round impressive play. The end result was a place booked in Brazil.
His good qualifying campaign was accompanied by an equally good start to life at Wolfsburg, and in the end it was inevitable that he would be called up for his country’s World Cup squad that summer.
On the whole, the tournament didn’t go too badly, but there is still a sense that Belgium could have gone further than the quarter finals, where they were knocked out to eventual runners up Argentina in a 1-0 defeat. De Bruyne had a reasonable tournament and he scored an extra time goal as they saw off USA in the round of 16, but his hopes had been set higher than being knocked out at the time they did.
However, that didn’t bother the youngster at all, as he followed up a respectable World Cup campaign with an even more incredible season with Wolfsburg, as they defied the odds and finished 2nd in the Bundesliga behind only Bayern Munich – and guess who was at the heart of it all.
Deployed in a central attacking position with the freedom roam by Dieter Hecking, he was able to cause havoc in opposition defences, and was undoubtedly the stand out performer in an historic season for the Wolves, who also achieved German Cup success, as De Bruyne scored in a 3-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the final.
Those performances then earned him yet another move, which would see him return to England in the form of a Manchester City player for around £55 million.
As you would expect there was immediate hype around him in the UK. He was the Premier League’s next big thing. And despite having all this pressure, he has excelled in his first season with City.
After scoring on his full debut, he has been a pivotal part of Manchester City’s season, and his recent injury has also coincided with a drop in form of a side who appear to be missing a world class player – and who wouldn’t.
And although signs are showing that De Bruyne already is one of the world’s best, the future offers the possibility of even more success.
Firstly, there is the small matter of the European championships coming up this summer, where Belgium are among the favourites to win the tournament. The squad looks like it could be finally reaching its potential, and depending on his form, the competition could be pivotal to De Bruyne’s career.
Secondly, Pep Guardiola is set to take over the reigns in Manchester next season, and it could be the start of a new era for the club. How will he use De Bruyne? Can he win the title? Will they do well in the Champions League? It looks like the story of the Premier League’s next gem has only just begun…