Kevin De Bruyne in the form of his life in Manchester City: Best wishes to Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland will start his work at Manchester City on 1 July. But the Norwegian is already ubiquitous on the island after his permanent switch from Borussia Dortmund to Skyblues.

The sentiment (and nonsense) of City’s blockbuster deal has been the subject of much debate in the British media. Jürgen Klopp from league rivals FC Liverpool has to take a stand on every occasion and recently reverently described Haaland as an “animal”.

And of course the boulevard also takes advantage of the transfer. The newspaper “Sun” published on Thursday an article about Haaland’s culinary preferences. Kebab pizza and sweet and sour chicken are said to be on the menu regularly, though the 21-year-old takes good care of his body.

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Haaland’s future colleagues should not have bothered that the attention was not primarily directed at them for 48 hours. Manchester City is after all about ending the season sensibly and winning the Premier League after the dramatic Champions League loss in Madrid.

Kevin De Bruyne on par with Aguero, Dzeko and Jesus

Wednesday’s 5-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers was the next big step towards the championship party. One player in particular stood out: Kevin De Bruyne.

The Belgian scored a hat-trick in 17 minutes and added another later to join a small, famous squad that wrote Premier League history for Manchester City. After Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Gabriel Jesus, De Bruyne is the fourth player to score four goals in one game for the Citizens.

That is not how it should have been. “I should have scored five times,” De Bruyne said in an interview with Sky Sports. His first four shots on goal were inside, the fifth landing on the left post.

There was a scolding from the coach for that. “I’m very disappointed he did not score five goals. This post …” Pep Guardiola said on “Sky Sports” with a wink. When asked by the reporter about De Bruyne’s value for Manchester City, Guardiola first asked a counter-question: “What else should I say about him?”

Guardiola runs out of superlatives

The coach then played on the entire keyboard of superlatives. De Bruyne was “incredible, extraordinary and brilliant”, and in the second half of the current season “more than perfect”, Guardiola ruled.

De Bruyne has been at Manchester City for almost seven years and has always had a firm place in the offensive midfield. The Belgian is the perfect player for the Guardiola system with his speed, his power at the end and deep runs into the penalty area as well as his quality in direct short passes.

This season, though, De Bruyne has gotten even better. “He was always so generous to his teammates and always aimed to provide the assist,” Guardiola said. “But he also wants to score goals this season. He scored the winning goal against Chelsea, scored against Madrid and Liverpool. Scoring important goals in big matches is ultimately what makes the best players.”

According to Guardiola, De Bruyne “now feels like he likes it when his teammates come and hug him after he scores. He enjoys scoring himself now before it was mostly just assists.”

De Bruyne meets Guardiola’s demands

De Bruyne has already had 15 league goals in 28 games this season – two more than in his highest scoring season in 2019/20, where he played 35 games. The 30-year-old implements what Guardiola has been demanding for a long time this season.

“We have to score goals to win. As many goals as possible. Kevin does it now. We have talked. Not now, but over the years. You have to enter the field, you have to be close to the box, you have to score goals. This season has been the year he has gotten better and better, “Guardiola said.

De Bruyne enjoys the fact that he is now used almost exclusively in his favorite position. “I’m strongest in the middle, it’s a mix of number 8 and number 10. I go stronger from the inside out and vice versa,” De Bruyne said. Earlier, De Bruyne had fallen victim to Guardiola’s tactical gimmicks and had to switch to the wings.

De Bruyne admits: ‘Still in shock after leaving Madrid’

That he shows up so much at the end of the season is also related to his mental strength. The end in Madrid still lingers after De Bruyne.

“It was just five crazy minutes that you can not explain as a player. We did not know what happened. It suddenly went completely out of hand and I had to watch it from the bench without being able to intervene. We are still a bit in “shock, but it does not help, we have to continue. We have our work to do,” he said.

Delivering in the midst of the Haaland boom is a true statement from De Bruyne. Nothing is expected of the new signature from Dortmund other than goal, goal, goal. De Bruyne is by no means inferior, not only since his four-pack against Wolverhampton.

De Bruyne “copies” Haaland’s celebration

That Haaland was ubiquitous on the pitch even Wednesday night also has something to do with De Bruyne. After his third goal, he made the zen gesture that Haaland once showed in BVB’s Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain.

The English newspapers immediately wrote about a “tribute to Haaland”, De Bruyne already warmly welcomed the Norwegian. De Bruyne could not confirm that.

“I heard it looked like the Haaland celebration. I did not even know he was celebrating like that. I just wanted to show that I had scored three goals,” he told Sky Sports.

De Bruyne assured that he was looking forward to soon chasing goals with Haaland. Then Skyblues has two “animals” in the squad.

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