LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 18: Kevin De Bruyne of KRC Genk warms up during a KRC Genk training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group E match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on October 18, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Kevin de Bruyne is an interesting character. Back when Chelsea were pursuing Romelu Lukaku, many who followed the Jupiler League claimed that they might not have been after the best player there. Genk's Kevin de Bruyne was the name on many lips, and although Chelsea were linked with him that summer he didn't officially join until Janaury, although he remained on loan in Belgium until the end of the season.
And now the Blues have to decide what to do with him. The popular option would be to keep him and use him as a backup option, I suspect, and he's certainly good enough to do that now. For me, that would be a bad idea -- he's got too much promise to waste on our bench, and prospects need to play. But finding a destination for the 21-year-old shouldn't be taken likely. If de Bruyne goes on loan, it should be to a team that plays in a competitive league that can also find him significant playing time. He shouldn't go somewhere to be a backup. And neither should Lukaku, for that matter.
Where's a good spot? Well, Werder Bremen might fit. Here's Belgian paper Nieuwsblad about that link:
Werder Bremen is een van de meest concrete gegadigden om Rode Duivel Kevin De Bruyne van Chelsea te huren. De Londense club is op de hoogte van de interesse van de Duitsers maar wil over De Bruyne (maar ook over Romelu Lukaku) pas een beslissing nemen na het oefenkamp in de Verenigde Staten. [Eljero Elia] is geen obstakel voor een eventuele komst van De Bruyne. Werder Bremen ziet onze 20-jarige landgenoot als een nummer tien, zoals Genk hem aan het einde van het afgelopen seizoen gebruikte.
If you don't speak Dutch (and I don't either), hitting the Google Translate machine a few times gives you something like this:
Werder Bremen is one of the most obvious candidates to land Kevin De Bruyne from Chelsea on loan. The London club is aware of the interest of the Germans have in De Bruyne (and also Romelu Lukaku) and will make a decision after the training camp in the United States. [New acquisition Eljero Elia], is no obstacle for a possible arrival of De Bruyne. Werder Bremen will see our 20-year-old [sic] compatriot as a number ten, as Genk use him at the end of last season.
Some interesting tidbits in there, so let's go in order.
- Bremen are interested in both de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku. That's pretty awesome - getting both of them time together would be neat, and their strikers aren't really good enough to pose a significant obstacle to Lukaku's playing time should he play to his potential (and if he doesn't, that's his fault).
- A decision will be made after the USA tour. I think this is more for the players' benefit than anything else, jsut so thery think they have a chance of breaking into the first team with some great performances. I don't see Chelsea being convinced to let them waste a year of development just because they excelled in pre-season like they did with Josh McEachran, though.
- De Bruyne will be used as a number ten. This is interesting. If he was going to be a winger he'd have competition from Aaron Hunt and Eljero Elia, but with Marko Marin moving to Stamford Bridge (and it's not like he was a traditional number ten anyway) the field is clear for de Bruyne to play centrally if they want. Playmakers are inherently more valuable than wingers, and Bremen have a good track record at developing elite ones. If they do start using de Bruyne in that role, I'd be a happy blogger indeed..
This is all a rumour, but it's stuff we've heard before and there's nothing particularly bizarre about any of the rumblings. It makes sense for everyone concerned, and I wouldn't be at all shocked to see this happen. A successful loan spell (like Thibaut Courtois at Atletico Madrid last year) could really mark both de Bruyne and Lukaku as ready to take on a major role with the first team.