Kevin De Bruyne returned to Chelsea this summer expecting to make it into the first-team, after an impressive 2012-13 with loan side Werder Bremen and the Belgian national team.
Despite starting the opening game of the season against Hull City, he has since slipped out of the first-team picture and was openly criticised by Jose Mourinho in September.
It caused De Bruyne to say this at the end of last month, making it clear he needs to improve when quizzed on his future with Chelsea:
"No (I’m not leaving), and I'm not now doing (anything about it). I also know that this situation cannot continue. Sooner or later I have to play. But for now there is nothing else to do than me to shut up and train. I feel sharp - even sharper than ever."
But with the World Cup rolling around De Bruyne surely needs regular football to maintain match sharpness, and perhaps his first-team place in Marc Wilmots’ side ahead of the competition in Brazil.
Many a team has been linked with bringing him in, either on loan or permanently. The Bundesliga seem the keenest on bringing him back to Germany. VfL Wolfsburg, Schalke 04 and former team Werder Bremen all said to be keeping tabs on him for a loan deal - while Borussia Dortmund and Juventus’ interest would suggest something more permanent.
But we now know for sure one team he won’t be playing for - Belgian champions Anderlecht.
They are reportedly after De Bruyne to help strengthen a side that are currently in fourth place in the Belgian Pro League.
Belgian papers have recently suggested a move to Brussels could be on the cards - but this week it has been confirmed that this simply cannot happen.
When De Bruyne joined Chelsea for £7 million from Racing Genk in January 2012 the selling club included a clause to say he could not join Anderlecht on loan.
‘’He will not go to Anderlecht. The reason is simple, at the time of departure of Genk to England, Racing had inserted a clause stating that the Blues could not loan De Bruyne to Anderlecht. According to the two dailies, no other Belgian club is affected by this measure.’’
If he does go out on loan, the Bundesliga now seems the likely destination.
image: © Erik Daniel Drost