According to the London-based newspaper The Times, De Bruyne became the best-paid player in the Premier League after signing a new contract with the Citizens, but only after a six month negotiation period.
And it was during this time that the Catalan giants would have made a play for the midfielder, but it simply wasn’t to be.
“Barcelona had explored the possibility of buying De Bruyne but the pandemic snuffed out any chance they had of signing the PFA player of the year as their debts have risen to £1 billion,” the report says.
It’s not the first time the Belgian has been linked with Barcelona.
All the way back in 2015, Barcelona were in the market for a new midfielder following the departure of Xavi. Ariedo Braida was brought in as an advisor, partially to try to lure Paul Pogba to the Camp Nou. According to Mundo Deportivo journalist Francesc Aguilar, Braida was interested in bringing De Bruyne to Barcelona. However, it wasn’t to be. Instead, the Catalans ended up signing Arda Turan.
Turan was considerably cheaper, as he was bought for €34 million, plus €7 million in variables, from Atlético Madrid. On the other hand, De Bruyne cost £55 million (€75 million). However, Turan would never quite settle in at Barcelona, before being loaned to İstanbul Başakşehir and ultimately moving on a free transfer to Galatasaray.
De Bruyne became one of the world’s best players. Barcelona never signed Pogba, either, who instead went to Manchester United in 2016 for €105 million (£89.3 million) plus bonuses of €5 million.