Former Chelsea sports director Michael Emenalo has revealed he was not taken seriously when he recommended Kevin De Bruyne to Chelsea.
In a most revealing interview with The Guardian of London, former Nigeria star Emenalo said he has since been vindicated as De Bruyne is now considered one of the best players in the world.
“My scouts saw what was happening in Belgium,” said Emenalo. “Hazard, De Bruyne, Lukaku, Chadli, Vertonghen, Courtois.
“But they asked me: ‘Since when did Belgium suddenly become Brazil?’
“’Who is this Kevin De Bruyne?’ I replied: ‘I don’t look at passports. I am looking at a player. And this player doesn’t give a bad pass. I don’t know if he will become a superstar, but there is something’. ”
He added: “He was barely 18 years old and a super talent.
“But the first time when I spoke about De Bruyne that he would possibly rival Lampard everyone laughed at me.
“It was the same with Romelu Lukaku. He was 18 years old and I told them to be patient with him for five years. ”
Chelsea eventually signed him for eight million Euros in 2012. He was then loaned to Werder Bremen and sold to Wolfsburg in 2014. He is the now the mainstay of Manchester City.
“His loss was more painful for Abramovich (Chelsea owner) than me. He really gave up. He saw that everything we discussed turned out to be correct,” Emenalo said.