Selling Kevin De Bruyne for £25m Would Be Sale of the Century for Chelsea

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2014

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17:  Kevin De Bruyne of Chelsea on the ball during the Capital One Cup Quarter-Final match between Sunderland and Chelsea  at Stadium of Light on December 17, 2013 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Chelsea have had the wool pulled over their eyes far too often in the transfer market, but it seems with Kevin De Bruyne's rumored move to Wolfsburg, it could be a case of the tables well and truly being turned.

The Telegraph reports the Blues are demanding a £25 million fee for their out-of-favor Belgian midfielder, and while the price may seem somewhat extortionate, it appears the Bundesliga side remain unperturbed in their pursuit.

Forget Gareth Bale's world-record £85 million transfer to Real Madrid last summer; if the Blues pull off a deal anywhere close to what they are quoting for De Bruyne, it will be the sale of the century.

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Chelsea substitutes Kevin De Bruyne and  Samuel Eto'o walk out onto the pitch clutching hotwater bottles during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Chelsea at Britannia Stadium on December 7, 20
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Indeed, with the club this week announcing losses of £49.4 million for the year ending June 2013, news of Wolfsburg's interest in De Bruyne couldn't have arrived at a more ideal time.

It's clear Jose Mourinho will need to sell players before he can strengthen his squad any further and it's the fringe players at Stamford Bridghe who will be targeted as the main focus of any cull.

Commanding a fee in double figures would represent good business for De Bruyne, a player who has featured just nine times for the club since his £7 million move from Racing Genk two years ago.

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Despite the promise he had shown coming through the ranks with his boyhood club—and during a subsequent loan move to Werder Bremen in 2012-13—we haven't seen quite the same player in West London.

Admittedly, it's difficult for any footballer to make an impression without a sustained period in the starting XI, yet whenever De Bruyne has featured for Chelsea, there still hasn't been enough to suggest he is capable of dislodging those who are ahead of him in the pecking order.

Eden Hazard and Oscar have been the Blues' outstanding performers this term, and while Juan Mata hasn't convinced, his previous two seasons show what he is capable of.

Willian is beginning to find his feet in English football, with Andre Schurrle impacting games when given the opportunity.

In fact, the mention of Schurrle is rather apt.

Much like De Bruyne, the German is experiencing his debut season in English football, yet he is adapting far quicker, forcing his way into Mourinho's plans.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29:  Jack Wilshere of Arsenal is tackled by Kevin De Bruyne of Chelsea (L) during the Capital One Cup Fourth Round match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on October 29, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

He has looked positive whenever he has appeared, scoring vital goals along the way and grabbing assists.

By contrast, De Bruyne has looked lethargic, off the pace and unable to impact matches the way a player in his position must. Especially a player at Chelsea.

What's more, there have been questions raised over his professionalism, with Sky Sports reporting in October the 22-year-old had fallen out with his manager.

How much we can read into those stories is unclear, yet what they show is a player who is unsettled and attracting the wrong sort of headlines, which is damaging to the club.

It doesn't paint a pretty picture.

As much as it is a sport loved the world over, football is a business. It's what drives the game in the modern era and what De Bruyne represents to Chelsea is an asset—a rather valuable one if we're using Wolfsburg's interest as a barometer.

He hasn't shown enough in English football to warrant such an inflated transfer fee, so if Chelsea can squeeze every million they can out of De Bruyne, it will be the best bit of business the club has pulled off in a long while.

They call transfer windows the "silly season." With the interest in De Bruyne right now, it's not hard to see why.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes