Manchester City intend to delay contract talks with midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, despite the Belgium international entering the final 18 months of his current contract.
The 32-year-old is expected to remain sidelined until the new year, having undergone surgery for a recurring hamstring problem after suffering another injury during Manchester City’s opening weekend win over Burnley at Turf Moor.
Kevin De Bruyne, who was heartbreakingly replaced due to injury during the first-half of the UEFA Champions League Final victory in June, didn’t feature during Manchester City’s pre-season tour of east Asia, as the midfielder recovered from injury.
The Belgium international is out of contract at the Etihad Stadium in 2025, having joined Manchester City in 2015 for £55 million from Wolfsburg.
De Bruyne has won 15 trophies at the Etihad Stadium to date, and recently became just the fifth player to register 100 Premier League assists – becoming the fastest player to the century with an assist for Erling Haaland against Southampton in April.
The midfielder also shares the record for the most assists in a Premier League season, and won the Premier League Playmaker award for the third time in six seasons during Manchester City’s treble-winning campaign.
De Bruyne netted 10 goals last season, helping Pep Guardiola’s side to the Premier League title and Champions League trophy with crucial goals against Arsenal and Real Madrid.
Manchester City have handed new deals to Kyle Walker, Nathan Ake, Rico Lewis and Bernardo Silva this summer, having lost senior duo Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez to Barcelona and Al-Ahli during the transfer window.
The current contract of De Bruyne’s is due to expire in 2025, and the Daily Star report that Manchester City are preparing delay offering the 32-year-old a new deal.
The Belgium international will enter the final 12 months of his Manchester City contract next summer, but Pep Guardiola is claimed to be ‘desperate’ to keep hold of the midfielder beyond his current deal.
Guardiola’s contract at the Etihad Stadium is also due to expire in 2025, with the Catalan’s desire to keep De Bruyne at Manchester City beyond that date, potentially also suggestive of the manager’s future plans.
The Blues’ decision to delay contract extension talks comes despite former club captain Gundogan recently complaining about Manchester City’s timing of tabling an improved offer.
The German midfielder completed a free transfer to Barcelona, and recently told BILD: “When it comes to a Champions League quarter-final or semi-final, players want to concentrate purely on sport. I didn’t know what would happen next. I couldn’t plan anything.”