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May 15, 2013

Dortmund, Bayer set for De Bruyne battle

The future of Chelsea midfielder Kevin de Bruyne remains unclear, with the Belgium international keen to move to Borussia Dortmund but facing the prospect of returning to Stamford Bridge or joining Bayer Leverkusen instead.

Kevin De Bruyne: To ply his trade in Germany next season
Kevin De Bruyne could be playing at Chelsea, Dortmund or Bayer Leverkusen next season

Dortmund have been heavily linked with a swoop for De Bruyne in recent weeks, but it has been suggested that Chelsea’s desire to sign Andre Schurrle from Leverkusen may lead to a switch to the BayArena.

However, De Bruyne, who has impressed while on a season-long loan at Werder Bremen, insists his future has not yet been decided, brushing off speculation that he has already agreed a five-year deal in principle with Champions League finalists Dortmund.

"I have not signed anything,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “I have never said that [a deal has been agreed with Dortmund]. The clubs now need to talk."

De Bruyne’s agent Patrick de Koster told Bremen paper Weser Kurier: “We will talk to Chelsea first. Kevin will play for either Dortmund, Leverkusen or Chelsea next season.”

Dortmund are looking at possible replacements for Bayern Munich-bound Mario Gotze and it appears they would like to spread the risk, with Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen and Atletico Mineiro’s 20-year-old starlet Bernard also linked with a move.

Leverkusen, having recently confirmed their return to the Champions League, are also hoping to acquire De Bruyne’s services in an exchange deal for Germany international Schurrle. Leverkusen, however, are only thought to want to take the midfielder on loan.

“We are interested in him, but he is not the only candidate,” Bayer general manager Rudi Voller told Die Welt.

The former Germany coach, however, said Leverkusen had no plans to let Schurrle leave, without having a replacement lined up.

“Andre is our player and we will only do things we can take responsibility for and which can give us long term success,” he said.

There have yet to be any official statements from Stamford Bridge on the future of De Bruyne and German newspapers have been speculating the transfer saga could continue into the summer when the new Chelsea manager has made up his mind about the Belgium international.

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