Summerbee: Chelsea blew it with Bell's heir De Bruyne


Ex-winger Mike Summerbee believes Chelsea's loss could prove to be Manchester City's gain when Kevin De Bruyne lines up against his former employers.

Premier League leaders Chelsea travel to the Etihad Stadium aiming to extend a run of seven consecutive wins in England's top flight but knowing City will replace them at the summit if the hosts prevail in Saturday's early kick-off.

De Bruyne became City's club-record signing from Wolfsburg last August and he lit up the Bundesliga after becoming frustrated in pursuit of first-team opportunities at Stamford Bridge.

The Belgium international has performed impeccably at Eastlands, scoring 19 goals and supplying 24 assists in 59 appearances across all competitions, and he has a firm admirer in Summerbee.

"Lots of people, if you go around the country, would love to have De Bruyne in their side," the former England international told Omnisport - and he finds the fact Chelsea passed up this opportunity during Jose Mourinho's time in charge to be mildly baffling.

"I can't understand, when we've got Chelsea coming here and you suddenly realise that he played at Chelsea and he wasn't successful there," he said.

"He must have been a very young man and London is a big place, so it could be a little bit to do with that. Thank goodness they didn't fancy him because we've got him."

De Bruyne's game-changing talents from midfield, combining an eye for a pass with impressive stamina and a lethal shot, have seen him compared to Colin Bell - a man widely regarded to be City's greatest ever player.

Summerbee played alongside Bell in Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison's side of the late 1960s and early 1970s that swept the board domestically in the space of three seasons and won City's only European trophy to date in the 1970 European Cup Winners' Cup.

Now a club ambassador, he feels the parallels between his esteemed team-mate and De Bruyne are valid.

"You have to see it, they've both got tremendous energy," Summerbee explained.

"Colin Bell, in our particular side, was an unbelievable player. When I was trying to find some breath and struggling he was not even breathing heavily, that's the difference.

"Kevin De Bruyne is exactly the same. I see them, the way they work, the way there are - it's easy for them to cover ground, it's easy for them to go past people.

"When [De Bruyne] goes past people, no one catches him because he leaves them for dead. That's the sign of a great player and Kevin De Bruyne is that.

"He's just a matchwinner and he does it within himself - he's that much of an athlete. It's very rare to get someone like him."