It’s official, Kevin De Bruyne leaves VfL Wolfsburg for Manchester City. Volkswagen will receive a mind-boggling €75 million fee for the 24-year-old Belgium. At last, the transfer saga has ended and the Bundesliga has lost one of its gems, as De Bruyne wasn’t voted ‘player of the season’ by coincidence. With 21 assists the play maker set new record in the league. While it’s a big loss for the league and obviously for VfL Wolfsburg, the transfer has a positive spin to it from Borussia Dortmund’s perspective.
Without a doubt, the wolves lost their fulcrum in midfield. De Bruyne was Wolfsburg’s go-to guy who ran the show and provided the special in an already well equipped team. It will be hard for the vice champions and DFB Pokal winners to replicate their previous season, where they collected 69 league points. And no, beating a hapless Schalke 04 by 3-0 does not prove the opposite.
Wolfsburg’s sporting director Klaus Allofs has three days and around €100 million left to replace the best player of the side, after also selling Ivan Perisic to Inter Milan. They have been linked with Anderlecht’s Dennis Praet – cynics even joke about a double swoop for Mario Götze and Julian Draxler – but realistically, VfL won’t find a like-for-like replacement that will instantly be as integral as Kevin De Bruyne was last season.
For Dortmund that means one of their biggest competitors for the Champions League spots has been significantly weakened. After all it is still of utmost importance for the Black and Yellows to qualify for UEFA’s elite football league, as they still depend on the prestige, additional funds and sportive success to grow further as a club. This task just got a little bit easier to achieve for BVB.
With Kevin De Bruyne out of the picture it will be interesting to see how Wolfsburg adapt in the short- and long-term. It won’t be easier for them to get out of the Champions League group stages now. Without their greatest difference-maker the wolves are simply not the same beast anymore. If they put their money to good use, they might bounce back eventually, but losing a player like De Bruyne will hurt almost any team in the world.