Manchester City must pay big money to sign Chelsea reject Kevin de Bruyne next summer after Wolfsburg slapped a whopping £30 million valuation on his head.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the Bundesliga outfit are only prepared to do a deal at a premium rate, similar to the one they negotiated when the Citizens signed Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko back in 2011.
Manuel Pellegrini has identified De Bruyne as a priority target at the end of the season, having been impressed with his goalscoring contribution at the Volkswagen Arena.
And, after a positive recommendation from Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany - who plays with the former Blues winger in the Belgium national team - the Chilean coach is convinced that De Bruyne has what it takes to succeed at the Etihad Stadium.
Despite struggling to make any kind of impact at Stamford Bridge following his £7 million move from Racing Genk, the 23-year-old has managed to significantly restore his reputation as an exciting young talent in Germany.
Chelsea first allowed him to join Werder Bremen on loan, before completing a permanent £18 million transfer to Wolfsburg in January 2013 after making just nine first-team appearances in west London.
However, De Bruyne has contributed nine goals in 43 appearances for Dieter Hecking's side, who currently sit comfortably in second place in the Bundesliga table behind runaway leaders Bayern Munich.
Senior figures at Manchester City believe the Belgian possesses similar goalscoring attributes to Frank Lampard, the Chelsea legend that has been enjoying a highly productive loan stint at the Etihad.
The new Frank Lampard?
Pellegrini is still hopeful of keeping the 36-year-old for the remainder of the 2014/15 campaign, but is already planning to replace the former England international by doing a deal for De Bruyne when the transfer window reopens next summer.
Director of football Txiki Begiristain has been tasked with freshening up an ageing Manchester City squad from next season onwards, and the Wolfsburg winger is right at the top of the club's transfer shortlist.
Jose Mourinho never really gave De Bruyne much chance to prove himself at Chelsea, but he'll surely have monitored the player's progress closely in Germany, and will probably rue letting him leave even if the club did make a tidy £11 million profit on his signature.
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