Could agents disappear from the world of soccer?


Kevin De Bruyne is the beating heart of the Manchester City midfield and a world class player in all attributes, if not the very best midfielder. The Belgian previously played for Genk and then Chelsea where he couldn’t quite leave his mark and break through to become a star. Loaned to Werder Bremer by Chelsea, De Bruyne was then picked up by German side Wolsfburg who saw potential in him. After a great campaign with Wolfsburg in 2014-15, Manchester City acquired his target and the rest is history. 


De Bruyne has been crucial for Manchester City in their later success. Under Pep Guardiola Manchester City won back to back titles in 2017 and 2018. De Bruyne has had at least 9 assists in every season spent at Man City, peaking with 19 in 2019-20. He also consistently scored 5 to 8 goals, contributing directly to at least 20 goals each season. In the 2019-20 season. De Bruyne was so consistent and outstanding that he won the award for Best Player in the league. Overall, De Bruyne is essential to Manchester City, and he knows that. 


As it is usual in the world of soccer, players have agents who take care of their contract negotiations and are the ones who work out all the business around the player’s value. Agents can often be beneficial for a player as they can work out great deals, or they might be selfish and try to get as much money out of the negotiations as they can in order to receive a greater pay. 


De Bruyne decided he wouldn’t take the risk of using a middle man while negotiating for his new contract with Manchester City. Instead, De Bruyne hired a list of data analysts who demonstrated on paper why he’s such a crucial part of the team. After gathering the evidence he needed, De Bruyne worked out a deal for a two year extension on his contract and a raise in his salary which was formerly 300 000 british pounds per week, this is expected to make him the highest paid player in the Premier League. 


In terms of history, this could be the beginning of a pivotal movement in the soccer industry, where agents were formerly idolized as powerful men who held a lot of responsibility for a player’s career. Rumours are that Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling is also going to be negotiating directly with the club rather than using an agent, and including stats and data to prove his important role for the team. 


Could this really be the new era of soccer negotiations? It’s likely going to raise some controversy if more and more players decide to ditch their agents, as agents will want to try and keep their jobs safe. However, seeing the way De Bruyne was able to remain on good terms with the club while increasing his salary can be tempting for many players who feel they could also demonstrate to their clubs they are worth more than they are receiving.