Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has been tipped to seek compensation from the club in the form of an improved contract to make up for lucrative bonuses that will be lost if a two-year ban from all UEFA competitions is upheld by CAS next week.
City have appealed against UEFA’s decision to suspend them from the Champions League over Financial Fair Play breaches and will soon learn their fate following a CAS hearing last month.
Being barred from European competition would be an enormous blow for City, in terms of lost revenue from prize money, broadcasting and matchday income, as well as having severe sporting consequences if members of the squad look to move on as a result.
De Bruyne was reported in March to be delaying giving City any assurances over his future. That story came from Belgian magazine Sport/Foot and it was suggested it was unlikely that the player would be willing to ‘write off’ his personal ambitions to stay with a club who couldn’t match them.
Although arguably the best midfielder in the world right now, were De Bruyne to stay at City in the event of the European ban being upheld, he would then be 31 by the time he could next play in the Champions League again.
City’s saving grace in all this is the current financial climate brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, which is limiting how much top clubs across Europe can spend on players this summer.
Now, the latest on De Bruyne suggests that he could actually stay at City, but would need financial persuasion to do so. That report comes from Belgian newspaper Het Belang van Limburg, which is based in the same province that the player began his senior career with Genk.
The story is shared in English by Sport Witness, which reveals that De Bruyne stands to personally miss out on ‘at least’ €1.5m in earnings for each season City are out of the Champions League, which stands to be a total of €3.5m over the full course of the ban.
With a departure perhaps not feasible as things stand, De Bruyne is therefore expected to ask for an ‘improved contract’ if the ban is upheld in order to be compensated so that he remains at the club.
More generally, the same report suggests City have wider concerns that agents ‘will start listening’ to offers from other clubs. Aside from De Bruyne, a number of other players risk not playing Champions League football at their peak if they opt to stay in Manchester.