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Man City: De Bruyne ‘open’ to transfer, calls Saudi Pro League money ‘incredible’

De Bruyne is said to earn around £400,000 a week at City

Kevin De Bruyne playing football for Man City

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has said he is “open to everything” and aware of the “incredible amount of money” a move to the Saudi Pro League would offer.

Six-time Premier League winner De Bruyne, who is out of contract in 2025, says his wife, Michele, would support him in a move away from England, potentially becoming one of the best-paid footballers in the world by heading to Saudi Arabia.

“For Michele, an exotic adventure is okay,” the 32-year-old told HLN. “These are also conversations that we are increasingly having as a family.

“If I play there for two years, I will be able to earn an incredible amount of money. At my age, you have to be open to everything.

“You’re talking about incredible amounts of money in what may be the end of my career. Sometimes you have to think about that.”

 

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A procession of superstar players have followed Cristiano Ronaldo to the Saudi top flight since the five-time Ballon d’Or winner joined Al Nassr at the start of 2023.

Former African Footballer of the Year Riyad Mahrez moved to Al Ahli from City for £30m last July, and centre-back Aymeric Laporte also left Pep Guardiola’s side for Al Nassr for £23.6m a month later.

“I still have one year left on my contract, so I have to think about what could happen,” reflected De Bruyne, who joined City from Wolfsburg in 2015.

“My eldest [child] is now eight years old and knows nothing but England. He also asks how long I will play for City. Once the moment comes, we will have to deal with it in a certain way.”

De Bruyne helped City become English champions in 2023/24 but the campaign was not a vintage one for the Belgium international, who missed the first half of the season because of hamstring surgery but directly contributed to 23 goals after his return.

Saudi Pro League salaries

Ronaldo is said to earn a £177m salary at his club, which is one of four in the division owned by the hugely wealthy Saudi Public Investment Fund alongside Al Ahli, Al Ittihad and champions Al Hilal.

Mahrez and the likes of 2022 Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, who plays for Al Ittihad, also earn stratospheric sums in Saudi Arabia.

Not all of the high-profile players to have made the switch have succeeded. Former England midfielder Jordan Henderson joined Al Ettifaq from Liverpool before the 2023/24 season but left for Ajax six months later, and Laporte said in January that he was “disappointed in such a short time”, adding: “You wonder what to do.”

“Let’s be honest, many of us have also come here not only for football,” the Spain international told Diario AS. “Many of us are happy with that [financially], but I am also looking for something beyond, that is not the economic part.

“In terms of quality of life, I expected something different because, in the end, here you spend three hours a day in the car. In Riyadh, you spend a lot of time in the car because of the traffic.

“They haven’t made it easy for us. In fact, there are many players that are dissatisfied. They do look after us but not enough, for my liking. That is to say, in Europe they pay you a good salary, but they take better care of you.

“I speak from my own experience and I don’t know what the experience of others is like. For my part, what I have seen is that they try to bring you in, but then there is the day-to-day life and that is different.”

Sadio Mane, who joined Al Nassr from Bayern Munich in 2023, dismissed suggestions earlier this year that his profile had fallen because of his decision.

“Fortunately, I can say the Saudi league is a very good league and watched by everybody in the world,” the former Liverpool forward said.

“So for me, as long as I’m doing my best and I’m enjoying myself every single minute, that’s more important.”

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Ben Miller

Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.

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