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Paul Merson offers blunt acceptance of fault over Kevin De Bruyne opinion in 2015



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Pundit Paul Merson has issued acceptance over comments he made concerning Manchester City’s move for Kevin De Bruyne in 2015, speaking during a new podcast.

The Sky pundit and former professional footballer was highly-critical of Manchester City’s successful negotiation for the Belgium international nine years ago, suggesting that the price paid by the Etihad club was substantially greater than the player’s worth.

De Bruyne was starring in German football at the time, having played for Werder Bremen and VFL Wolfburg following a difficult spell with Chelsea under Jose Mourinho, the team he first joined from Belgian football back in 2012.

Manchester City announced the arrival of De Bruyne on a six-year contract in 2015, for a reported club-record fee of £55 million, with Merson going on record to state at the time, “I just don’t see this, I just really do not see this at all.”

Speaking on the ‘Football’s Greatest’ podcast in recent weeks, in conversation with Jeff Stelling, Paul Merson has accepted that Kevin De Bruyne has certainly proved him wrong concerning comments made back in 2015 – when Manchester City first signed the Belgian.

“I know he came over here at the start with Chelsea and it didn’t work out,” Merson said. “But since then, when he’s come back to Man City, he’s been absolutely phenomenal.

“I used to think I had a good brain, I was an intelligent footballer, I could see a pass. I watched him, and I watched the telly, and I think, ‘Wow, how did you see that pass?!’

“He reminds me of Dennis Bergkamp where when you’re on the pitch, and you’re in the middle of it, it’s 100 mile an hour, you feel like they’re playing in a helicopter, hovering above everybody else. They see the picture, they see everything.”

Paul Merson continued by reflecting on his views issued in 2015, “When they paid that money, I famously said on Sky it’s not worth it. I’d seen him at Chelsea and I thought, that’s a lot of money.

“He’s proved me wrong over the years, 100 per cent. I’m one of his biggest fans now… It wasn’t a lazy, off the cuff quote. I’d seen him enough times at Chelsea, I’d seen him and it didn’t work out for him at Chelsea. It just didn’t work out and that’s why I said what I said. But wow. What a player.”

Kevin De Bruyne has been at the heart of everything excellent since returning to Manchester City action from a five-month lay-off earlier this season, delivering two goals and six assists across his seven appearances in 2024.

The 32-year-old’s latest outing saw De Bruyne provide a further goal and assist against FC Copenhagen in the UEFA Champions League, en route to a 1-3 win at Parken for the reigning holders of the competition.