Manchester City signed Belgium international Kevin De Bruyne from Wolfsburg, on this day in 2015.
City paid a then club-record fee, reported to be in the region of £54million, for a man who has been at the heart of what they have achieved since.
The 24-year-old, who arrived in the Premier League as Germany’s footballer of the year, signed an initial six-year contract to launch the latest, spectacularly-successful phase of his career.
Manchester City are delighted to announce the signing of @DeBruyneKev!
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 30, 2015
Born in the Drongen district of Ghent, De Bruyne began his professional career at Genk and was a Belgian title-winner in 2010-11, prompting Chelsea to invest £6.7million in his services in January 2012, although he remained at his first club for the remainder of that campaign before joining Werder Bremen on a season-long loan deal.
The midfield schemer finally made his Blues debut in a 2-0 Premier League victory over Hull in August 2013, providing the assist for Oscar’s opening goal in an impressive display.
However, that proved to be one of only nine senior appearances for the club and he was sold to Wolfsburg in the January of the following year.
Speaking shortly before his £18million departure for the Bundesliga, then Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said: “We know that Kevin didn’t adapt very well to the difficult life a Chelsea player has.”
If English football had proved testing for the blossoming Belgian, he found his feet in style in Germany and returned to the Premier League as one of the most promising talents in the world game when he arrived at the Etihad Stadium.
He said at the time: “I just want to win. I won two cups at Wolfsburg and I just want to keep on winning and I think here’s a good chance to win some titles with a team who have a lot of quality players.”
That has proved something of an understatement.
Since making his City debut as a substitute in a 1-0 league win at Crystal Palace on September 12, 2015, De Bruyne has helped the club win the Champions League, five Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the League Cup on five occasions.
Twice named PFA footballer of the year, he has also been capped 99 times and scored 26 goals for Belgium, whom he has represented at three World Cup finals tournaments.