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Updated: January 18, 2014 17:13 IST

Kevin de Bruyne joins VfL Wolfsburg from Chelsea

DPA
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AC Milan midfielder Nigel De Jong, right, blocks a shot by Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne during a match in this Aug. 4, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo: AP
AC Milan midfielder Nigel De Jong, right, blocks a shot by Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne during a match in this Aug. 4, 2013, in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo: AP

Wolfsburg gave no details of the deal, but the transfer fee for the 22-year-old attacking midfielder is estimated at 20 million euros (27.2 million dollars).

VfL Wolfsburg have signed Belgium midfielder Kevin de Bruyne from Chelsea until 2019, the ambitious Bundesliga club said Saturday.

Wolfsburg gave no details of the deal, but the transfer fee for the 22-year-old attacking midfielder is estimated at 20 million euros (27.2 million dollars).

De Bruyne played in Germany last season on loan at Werder Bremen before returning to Chelsea, where he was rarely fielded by manager Jose Mourinho who eventually allowed him to leave.

Wolfsburg won a surprise Bundesliga title in 2009 and after some difficult years are now placed fifth with an ambitious team and management.

“I want to do my share that we continue to be successful and return to international action,” de Bruyne said in Saturday’s statement.

“It was clear from the outset that I would talk with Wolfsburg first once Chelsea released me. (Sports director) Klaus Allofs and (coach) Dieter Hecking are forming a very good team with huge potential in Wolfsburg.” Hecking said: “We have further raised the quality of our team with the signing of Kevin de Bruyne. He is a player with outstanding abilities.” Wolfsburg are backed by carmakers Volkswagen, and although Allofs and Hwecking insist that they can’t sign every player they want, the arrival of de Bruyne after a summer transfer in similar financial dimensions of Luiz Gustovo from Bayern Munich sends a clear message.

Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Moenchengladbach, Schalke and Borussia Dortmund were reportedly also after De Bruyne, and now realise that another rival may be emerging in the fight for the lucrative Champions League berths.

“Everyone knows that Wolfsburg can become a real power. Things will get very uncomfortable for others when VW open the purse,” Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said recently.

While Wolfsburg suffered from an overblown squad during the days of Felix Magath, Allofs and Hecking have now managed to trim the number of players, reshuffle the team, and consolidate the club which was almost relegated in 2011.

Young talents Robin Knoche and Maximilian Arnold have developed into key players, and the arrival of de Bruyne could also spell bad news for Brazilian playmaker Diego, whose contract beyond the season would reportedly only be renewed with a much lower salary.

“Kevin is convinced of Wolfsburg’s sporting perspective, and he has the potential to play a leading role with us,” the former Bremen general manager Allofs said.

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