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Ten players to watch in 2013/14 - Kevin de Bruyne (Chelsea)
When Jose Mourinho agreed to retake the reins at Chelsea, it’s interesting to speculate if he appreciated the extent of the talent available in the squad he could assemble. Although players such as Hazard, Mata and Oscar – not forgetting the old guard like Terry, Cech and Cole – would clearly have been on his radar, other, lesser known lights may not have been so obvious to him. One such player is young Belgian international Kevin de Bruyne. Signed from Genk for a relatively modest £7million in 2012, he was immediately loaned back out to Genk, before spending a season at Werder Bremen where he spent an encouraging season scoring ten times in 32 games. Now back in the Chelsea fold, and likely to feature in the Blues’ first team squad next season, de Bruyne could be the big breakthrough name in the Premier League.
Chelsea’s tour of the far east – in the absence of a number of top line players granted extended leave following the Confederations Cup - has given players such as de Bruyne an opportunity to demonstrate to the manager what they can offer. It’s a chance de Bruyne has not shunned. Busy and effective in the first game, over the weekend, playing a Malaysian eleven, he topped an all too brief display with a superb volley before being injured in a collision after shooting. Chelsea will be hoping that any damage is slight, and Blues fans will be encouraged by the player’s tweet following the game when he said: “Knee and ankle feeling OK. Always stay positive. Waiting for tomorrow. Then we will know more.” After the game, Mourinho, clearly concerned, remarked: “When he was on the floor, everyone on the bench thought the worst. "The first assessment by the doctor was that it was not the ligaments for sure and if it is something in the meniscus, then it has to be a very small injury.” Illustrating how impressed he had been by de Bruyne’s performances, Mourinho went on to add that “the kid is a fantastic player and is showing to you match after match and showing to me in training that he is going to be a key man on the pitch."
Having pace to burn, with a trick to beat a man and a fine scoring record, de Bruyne has the ideal make up to be a Premier League star of the future. His time with Bremen will have been a useful finishing school for the Belgian and he now looks ready to make his mark in England. There was talk earlier that Borussia Dortmund were interested in signing him, but all Chelsea fans will be glad that the attempt floundered and de Bruyne is now free to ply his wares at Stamford ridge. Little known at the moment, if he gets the chance to play in the Chelsea first team, come next May that £7million could like somewhat of a bargain.
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