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How this summer signing may well rob Man City of a desirable feature

With the transfer window finally closed we can analyse the business and begin to suggest how it might affect the fortunes of clubs in the English top flight.

Manchester City, in now familiar fashion, were the biggest spenders, with three of the five highest value purchases made by Premier League clubs heading to Eastlands.

Manuel Pellegrini, himself given a new contract this summer, has been allocated further vast funds of Arabian wealth by owner Sheikh Mansour to help City retrieve the Premier League crown lost to Chelsea last term.

Frighteningly for the rest of the league, the Manchester outfit have made an imperious start, largely due to the efforts of their existing playing staff.

From the new recruits, only Raheem Stirling has made a considerable contribution so far, yet City sit top of the pile with four wins from four, including a crushing defeat of champions Chelsea.

The final piece of Pellegrini’s puzzle fell into place only a few days ago.

Interestingly, the most expensive player of the transfer window heads to the north west from German outfit Wolfsburg, having been cast aside by Jose Mourinho a little over 18 months ago.

Kevin De Bruyne arrives at the Etihad Stadium for a whopping £54.5 million but with his new side already making such great progress, will the young Belgian enhance their title charge or unbalance the apple cart?

De Bruyne’s quality is undeniable. Last season his exploits earned him footballer of the year in Germany and he finished the campaign with 16 goals and a staggering 27 assists in all competitions.

His duties for Die Wolfe developed as the season wore on and from the halfway point of the campaign he enjoyed a free role in the attack, operating as a roaming playmaker behind beanpole Dutch forward, Bas Dost.

The 24 year old’s vision, technique, passing range and shooting ability make him perfect for the role of a mobile no 10, occupying the hole behind the striker but occasionally roaming to the flanks to create space.

The problem now for Pellegrini is how best to incorporate another superbly talented individual into the arrangement of players that stack up behind Sergio Aguero.

David Silva, one of the most naturally gifted playmakers on the planet, shares many of De Bruyne’s attributes and is best suited to the same area of the pitch.

Raheem Sterling has been used on the left and occasionally interchanged with Silva, his own large transfer fee demanded his inclusion form the season’s start and his contribution so far has seen him tighten his grip on a starting spot.

This means that almost by default, De Bruyne will take the place of Jesus Navas in the first choice XI.

The former Sevilla winger seems destined to be sacrificed to include the new signing. While De Bruyne’s stats from last season dwarf those of Navas and the former Chelsea man is the younger and more exciting member of the squad, dropping the Spaniard to accommodate the shiny new purchase could have significant side effects.

Navas has never quite set the world alight during his time in Manchester but he has started the season well.
He is a true winger in style, preferring to hug the touchline and beat his man for pace before delivering a cross or making for the penalty area himself.

City have few players of this nature at their disposal and Navas’ early season form has so far offered the crucial dimension of width to Pellegrini’s attack.

De Bruyne is capable of operating in a wide area and has the ability to deliver great crosses but ultimately, if stationed out on the right flank, will feel the need to drift inside to get involved. If he is forced to stay wide many, including the player himself, might view that as a waste of his talents.

Silva and Sterling are also the type of players who like to receive the ball in the centre of the park, and while either like, De Bruyne, are capable of operating wide, the playmaker within them will see them follow their instinct and head infield.

Even Samir Nasri, who is adept on either flank, is not naturally inclined to engage his full back in a foot race to the byline.

The preferred trio behind Aguero is now likely to be Sterling, Silva and De Bruyne; add to that mix Yaya Toure bursting from midfield and it could well be a case of too many cooks for City.

Of course given time, a player of De Bruyne’s quality is likely to adapt to the role that is available but his inclusion will now place great responsibility on City’s full backs to provide threat from wide areas.

It will be interesting to see how the Belgian is integrated into a side which at the moment looks well balanced and isn’t crying out for him.

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Article title: How this summer signing may well rob Man City of a desirable feature

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