Patrick de Koster, representative of Kevin de Bruyne, says “90 percent of all articles are bulls**t” when it comes to speculating on his client’s future.
Considering agents are only ever interested in the 10 percent, that should hardly be a cause of comfort for Manchester City supporters.
Next week, possibly even on Monday, there will come a decision that will go down as the most important in the club’s modern-day history.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport is scheduled to announce its verdict on City’s appeal against the two-year European ban imposed by UEFA in February for a serious breach of Financial Fair Play regulations. There was also a €30million fine.
Understandably, since then, global events have overshadowed City’s predicament.
Kevin de Bruyne will have a huge decision to make if Manchester City’s Champions League ban is upheld (Image: Oli Scarff/NMC/Pool/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
But make no mistake, if CAS uphold UEFA’s punishment in its entirety, the consequences for City will be little short of calamitous.
No matter what De Koster says, it is difficult to see how De Bruyne will not look for a move if denied Champions League football for two seasons.
It will be a prospect tough enough for any City player to countenance but someone such as Phil Foden has time on his side.
De Bruyne is in the form of his life but has just turned 29. He will be desperate not to miss one season of elite European football, never mind two.
Bamboozling bog-standard midfields such as the Newcastle United one he faced on Wednesday would become tedious if there was little else to look forward to.
De Bruyne was imperious against Newcastle but his talents deserve to be shown on the biggest stage (Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
De Bruyne’s talent deserves the grandest stage.
You can say the same about so many City players, Raheem Sterling being another.
Both Sterling and De Bruyne have contracts until 2023 and City could play hardball, but we all know how that normally ends up – with the player and his agent winning.
As this domestic season draws to a close, City have more issues than might first meet the eye.
David Silva’s virtuoso display against Newcastle was a reminder of what City will miss when he goes.
A European ban won’t worry Phil Foden so much as the 20-year-old has time on his side (Image: PA)
It is just assumed it will not matter because Foden will step into his shoes, but that is still a reduction in quality numbers, bearing in mind Leroy Sane has already jumped ship.
There is persistent talk in Barcelona that their former trainee Eric Garcia might be open to a return. Pep Guardiola simply says it is up to the player, just as it was Sane’s decision to return to Germany.
Guardiola, whose own contract has only a year to run, knows he needs to recruit.
A team of City’s quality cannot lose nine Premier League games out of 34 and not need defensive additions.
Guardiola’s faith in John Stones has almost evaporated and a conventional left-back would be useful.
City will miss the departing David Silva, even with a successor of Foden’s quality (Image: Bradley Ormesher NMCPool)
And while no team has goals through it quite like City, any continuing physical issues with Sergio Aguero would be a major concern.
It goes without saying Guardiola and City will want Champions League-standard players, but if they cannot offer them Champions League football, there is an obvious problem.
A halving of the two-year ban might be a compromise the likes of De Bruyne and any new signings are reluctantly willing to swallow.
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But as strange as it may seem when City are eyeing up the FA Cup and Champions League in the remainder of this season and currently producing trademark sparkling football, if CAS uphold UEFA’s punishment, it will be crisis time at the Etihad.
And as much as his agent might suggest otherwise, it will be decision time for De Bruyne.
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