Paul Merson has issued an apology and admitted he got it “horribly wrong” after he claimed Manchester City’s signing of Kevin De Bruyne in 2015 was an “absolute joke”.
City paid £55million to prise De Bruyne from Wolfsburg six years ago and the midfielder has since developed into one of the best players in the world, despite Merson’s comments at the time.
” Manchester City paying so much money for Kevin De Bruyne is an absolute joke,” said the former Arsenal and England ace.
“I thought he was out of his depth at Chelsea. He never once went out on the pitch and looked like he belonged there.”
In defiance of his doubters, De Bruyne has contributed an exceptional 170 goals or assists in 255 appearances for City and was rewarded with a new long-term contract earlier this week.
The 29-year-old has undoubtedly left Merson with egg on his face with his world-class displays, and the Sky Sports pundit ate humble pie as he issued an apology on Saturday.
He also clarified his initial doubts, explaining he had been unconvinced by De Bruyne during his underwhelming 2013/14 season with Chelsea.
“I got it horribly wrong,” said Merson. “But I was going by… I’m a Chelsea fan and I’d seen him at Chelsea and for one year in German football. I just didn’t think this would happen.
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“If I hold my hands up and say I’ve got it wrong which I have done and said a hundred times there’d still be people writing about, ‘Oh Merse said this.’ I apologise. He’s brilliant, he’s unbelievable.
“I mean it hasn’t taken seven years or whatever it is (to apologise). I’ve done it before that.”
De Bruyne has been as impressive as ever this season but was an unused substitute as City suffered a shock home defeat by Leeds on Saturday.
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