The former Genk midfielder, 22, has struggled to make an impact at Stamford Bridge under new manager Jose Mourinho, with Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Oscar, Andre Schurrle and Willian all being preferred to de Bruyne in the attacking midfield positions in Chelsea's formation.
As a result, Belgium manager Wilmots says the former Werder Bremen loanee could stagnate under Mourinho, with first team opportunities looking increasingly unlikely after Mourinho publicly criticised de Bruyne for poor displays in training. Now with the World Cup on the horizon and Wilmots looking to formulate plans about his squad, he has urged de Bruyne to leave the West London club.
'My request is that Kevin de Bruyne plays regular first-team football,' Wilmots told German newspaper Sport-BILD. 'Everyone knows what he is capable of.'
Wilmots' former club Schalke have been strongly linked with a move for de Bruyne, potentially in a deal which could see Julian Draxler go in the opposite direction, and Wilmots has recommended the Gelsenkirchen side as a destination for de Bruyne, having made over 150 appearances for the German club in the late 90's and early 2000's.
'Schalke is a special club for me and it would be great to see a player of this quality play for Schalke 04.'
Whilst his long term future is the most important thing, de Bruyne now has to consider his option until the rest of the season, with his place in Belgium's World Cup squad now in jeopardy. A loan move back to Germany, possibly with Schalke, could be the best move having impressed so much with Werder Bremen last season.
There are a number of other players who could replace him in Wilmots' World Cup squad, such as Nacer Chadli, Kevin Mirallas, Yannick Fereira Carrasco and Maxime Lestienne, so de Bruyne must now either break back into the Chelsea team or leave the club if he is to guarantee a place on the plan to Brazil next summer.
image: © Erik Daniel Drost