Football Features

Manchester City stats: Can Kevin De Bruyne break Giggs’ Premier League assist record?

By Will Evans | Twenty3

Published: 10:44, 1 May 2024 | Updated: 12:49, 2 May 2024

Kevin De Bruyne is amassing assists at a remarkable rate for Manchester City.

After setting up two goals against Nottingham Forest on Sunday, the Belgian maestro currently has eight Premier League assists this term — despite only featuring for 914 minutes.

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That brought his English top-flight total to 110 assists, with Ryan Giggs leading the way on 162.

As City go in search of their fourth straight title, we consider whether De Bruyne has what it takes to ultimately usurp the former Manchester United star.

Producing the goods

De Bruyne will turn 33 in June, but his output doesn’t appear to be declining with age.

Though a hamstring injury ruled the midfielder out from August until December, he has wasted little time since breaking back into the starting XI — registering 0.79 assists per 90 minutes of league action.

Unsurprisingly, that is the best return of any player in the division, with second-placed Pedro Neto some way behind on 0.54 per 90.

De Bruyne’s goal record is nothing to be sniffed at either, having scored four times at a rate of 0.39 per 90.

That means his average Premier League goal contribution currently stands at an eye-watering 1.18 per match in 2023/24.

Creator-in-chief

The underlying numbers paint a positive picture of De Bruyne’s impact in recent months.

No player has created more chances (4.43) or big chances (1.58) per 90 — and it is a similar story when it comes to attempted crosses (11.42) and passes into the final third (36.43).

He has also completed the most through-balls, with an average of 0.89 per game.

And part of the reason City’s No.17 finds himself with the ball in dangerous areas is his ability to regain possession in advanced positions.

His 1.48 possessions won in the final third 90 is currently only bettered by Manchester United’s Antony (1.74).

So, when could De Bruyne become the Premier League’s undisputed assist king?

De Bruyne is closing in on nine seasons with Manchester City, and 110 league assists over that period puts him third in the Premier League’s all-time standings.

It will surely only be a matter of weeks until he climbs above Cesc Fabregas (111) into second, but Giggs’ total of 162 is a tougher target to reach.

De Bruyne averages 0.43 assists per game across his entire Premier League career. If he were to continue at that rate, he would need to play 121 more matches to equal Giggs’ record. Since Erling Haaland joined Man City, the Belgian is averaging 0.52 assists per game.

The Belgian has averaged 28.2 league appearances per season across the past five campaigns, If his body allows him to maintain that, he would break the record a third of the way through the 2027/28 season at 36 years old. If we applied his post-Haaland assist rate, he would equal the record in exactly 100 appearances from now, roughly half-way through the 2026/27 campaign.

Age is against the 32-year-old De Bruyne, with some questions around how long he will remain at the Etihad Stadium — and whether a switch to Saudi Arabia could be in his future plans.

The 99-cap international’s recent injury record is also a concern, though he did play at least 30 league games in each of the two campaigns before this season.