Kevin De Bruyne has been urged to consider leaving Manchester City if the Champions League suspension is upheld, by the former defender Joleon Lescott
Manchester City received a two-year ban from European competitions for breaching Financial Fair Play roles and are still waiting to see the outcome of their appeal.
If the Court of Arbitration for Sport decides against City’s favor, the reigning Premier League holders will not be able to return to the Champions League until 2022.
The prospect of staying away from Europe’s elite club competition could deter a few of their key players from pledging their long-term future to the club, with De Bruyne one of the leading candidates to leave if the ban is upheld.
Barcelona and Real Madrid have already taken an interest in the Belgian attacking midfielder, who is contracted to the Etihad outfit until 2023.
Arguably the best playmaker in Europe, De Bruyne has been an omnipresent figure for Manchester City ever since joining the English giants from Wolfsburg in 2015.
‘De Bruyne is the key that unlocks teammates consistently.’— 𝘿𝙎 ‘ (@LzzDayan) May 20, 2020
Manchester City literally won the league without De bruyne last season and now he’s back they are 25 points behind 1st? https://t.co/cV8M2kWfWT
Although he has established himself as one of the best players of his generation during his five-year spell in the Premier League, the 28-year-old has yet to lift the Champions League trophy.
Therefore, De Bruyne may find the prospect of skipping Europe’s most prestigious competition repulsive, which could convince him to consider moving on in the summer.
The former Chelsea outcast has already admitted that he will reconsider his options once the final decision on City’s ban is made, opening the possibility of leaving Pep Guardiola’s side in the future.
Now, the ex-City defender, Joleon Lescott, has given his verdict on De Bruyne’s status in case the Citizens are sidelined from the Champions League for two years.
“It’s hard to say if he’ll stay, only he knows,” Lescott said, as transmitted by the Manchester Evening News.
“But I totally understand what he’s saying because that was my thought process when I was at Everton. Everton were good to me, I enjoyed it there, but then I thought in my prime years, optimal years of playing, how realistic is it for Everton to be challenging for the title as it is for Man City to be challenging for the title.
“That was the decision I made and the thought process behind leaving and obviously joining Man City and challenging for the titles. I’m sure that will be the decision behind Kevin de Bruyne. If he decides to leave, he’ll think ‘who’s the most capable team of winning the Champions League whilst Man City are not in there?’
“Hopefully that doesn’t happen. Hopefully neither of them things happen. Obviously, they’re going to try and fight their corner; they believe they were right in what they were doing. So hopefully, there’s some common ground, and they can reach an agreement.”