Kevin De Bruyne’s agent has suggested that Bayer Leverkusen are leading the race for the Chelsea midfielder despite rival interest from Borussia Dortmund, Schalke, Borussia Moenchengladbach and Wolfsburg.
De Bruyne, 21, is expected to leave Stamford Bridge ahead of next summer’s World Cup, with Belgium coach Marc Wilmots having suggested on numerous occasions he would like to see him secure regular first-team football.
There have been links with Spanish side Atletico Madrid, but it is expected that he will make a switch to the Bundesliga, having impressed during a loan spell with Werder Bremen in the 2012-13 season.
The player’s agent, Patrick de Koster, told the Cologne-based tabloid Express that five of Germany’s top six clubs have shown interest, and suggested Leverkusen could be his most likely destination.
“I will fly to London next week to find a solution with Chelsea. Should Kevin be allowed to leave, I will call [Bayer Leverkusen squad manager] Michael Reschke within 30 minutes. We have an excellent relationship.”
He added: “Dortmund, Gladbach, Schalke and Wolfsburg have also been in touch with me. Kevin will take a look at where is best for him.”
Sport Bild reports that Schalke could yet secure the player as part of a swap deal involving Germany midfielder Julian Draxler. It is suggested that the Blues would be prepared to offer De Bruyne plus cash in exchange for the 20-year-old, who has already appeared 10 times for his country.
Schalke sporting director Horst Heldt described De Bruyne as a “class player who is interesting many clubs” and he added: “Several clubs are still chasing Julian Draxler.”
Meanwhile, Bild claims Wolfsburg, who had previously been favourites to sign the Belgian, are still hopeful of completing a deal, having asked a middleman to discuss terms with Chelsea.