‘Even Bayern Munich couldn’t match Manchester City’s offer for De Bruyne’

VW boss Martin Winterkorn, who has ties with both the Bundesliga champions and Wolfsburg, believes the Belgian’s move back to the Premier League was financially motivated

Manchester City’s signing of Kevin De Bruyne is the latest example of the Premier League’s unrivalled spending power, according to Volkswagen boss Martin Winterkorn.

VW-owned Wolfsburg spent the entire summer trying to resist offers for the Belgian playmaker, but, after a drawn out saga, eventually relented as City got their man in a £55 million deal.

And Winterkorn, who also sits on the supervisory board at Bayern Munich and is rumoured to have pushed for die Roten to sign De Bruyne, admits the spending power of English clubs is impossible to resist, with even the German champions playing catch up.

“Sometimes we are powerless against such sums,” the 68-year-old told Bild.

“Even Bayern Munich, who were interested [in De Bruyne], has said the same at the end of the day. Against such sums we cannot compete at the moment.”

He continued: “Whether [the £55m fee] is justified or not, we would have preferred that Kevin had stayed with us. But the conditions are as they are.

“When the English media pay these sums [record-breaking TV money deal], and with plenty of other donors, then you have to consider what to do to prevent the sell-off in Germany.”

Winterkorn believes De Bruyne would have been better placed staying at Wolfsburg, where he was the focal point of the team, to continue his development, suggesting the transfer was financially motivated.

“The fact that a player like Kevin De Bruyne will be leaving us, of course, is a great pity. We are sorry,” he added.

“For financial reasons, I can understand him, for sporting reasons I do not understand him. I am not convinced that he plays the role at Manchester City that he has played with us. One more year with us would have been good for him. That would have been the right thing for his sporting career.”