Why Manuel Pellegrini must decide where to play Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne continues to settle into life at Manchester City with what looks like increasing ease.

Across town Anthony Martial’s arrival at Manchester United has been nothing short of explosive but De Bruyne, City’s most expensive purchase ever, is also hitting the ground running without quite as much fanfare.

With each goal and assist though, the Belgian is looking like he could well justify his mammoth transfer fee.

In Sunderland on Tuesday night, the new signing scored one and made another, in a comfortable win for City.

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That contribution takes his tally to two goals in his first four games. Not exactly the headline grabbing stuff of Martial but Manuel Pellegrini will be quietly pleased with his initial return.

The Chilean manager now though needs to decide how best to incorporate such an asset into his side.

At most teams a £55 million player would be plonked straight into the first eleven in whichever position was deemed his best. At Manchester City however, price tags offer no guarantees.

De Bruyne in recent games has taken on a role which is usually given to City’s main playmaker David Silva. The Spaniard has missed the last couple of fixtures through injury but is now ready to return.

City also spent a fortune on Raheem Sterling this summer and the young England man will have similar designs on the primary attacking midfield role. Aside from these two, Pellegrini also has a host of other attacking options at his disposal.

De Bruyne, Silva and Sterling of course could play together but this would mean sacrificing Jesus Navas from the starting eleven. The former Sevilla man is the only one of the entire all-star cast of attacking midfielders that offers the side genuine width.

During his great success in the Bundesliga last season De Bruyne was often deployed by Wolfsburg in a wide attacking role but one which afforded him the freedom of the front line to influence games.

Silva’s return to the hole behind Sergio Aguero would likely see the 24-year-old take up a similar position for his new club.

The Spaniard is reported to have a good chance of being available for the clash with Spurs at the weekend and Pellegrini is almost certain to use the opportunity to play De Bruyne alongside the little magician in his attack for the first time.

Silva is likely to be given the most central role with De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling pushed to wider areas but City fans will expect to see great fluidity in the system which, if successful, would create maximum headache for defenders and acres of space for Aguero.

For now, the former Genk youngster seems set to occupy the right-hand side for the league leaders.

The omission of the searing speed of the in-form Navas would be the only consequence of this move.
Aguero, Sterling and De Bruyne himself are all pacy players and the front line is taking on an increasingly terrifying look.

De Bruyne has publicly stated that he doesn’t want to be seen as the star in the side. His incredible ability along with this down to earth attitude should help ease his transition into a sublime attacking outfit.