Man City could be about to gift Arsenal huge Premier League title race boost with £72m decision

Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium looks on during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Belgium and Slovakia at Frankfurt Arena on June 17, 2024
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

Manchester City could surrender ground in the race for the Premier League title before the season even begins. Last term, Arsenal finished just two points behind the reigning champions despite only dropping points twice after the New Year.

Pep Guardiola's side held the Gunners to a goalless draw at the Etihad Stadium in March. Then, two weeks later, Aston Villa stormed past Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, with Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins netting two late goals.

The north Londoners won every other Premier League clash in 2024, taking three points from the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United during the run-in, but that still wasn't enough to win the title. Meanwhile, Manchester City cruised to a fourth successive honour.

Guardiola will be looking to defend his crown this season, but he may have to do so without Ederson and Kevin De Bruyne. The duo have both been heavily linked with moves to Saudi Arabia recently.

Ederson, who sees his contract at the Etihad Stadium expire in 2026, featured 33 times in the English top flight last season, keeping 13 clean sheets. He played a crucial role in Pep Guardiola's side, boasting the division's second-best defensive record.

The Brazil international has prided himself as one of the world's leading shot-stoppers since joining Manchester City from Benfica in 2017 – and he could be on the move. According to ESPN earlier this summer, Al Ittihad are among a few clubs who are interested in signing Ederson.

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As for De Bruyne, he featured 18 times in the Premier League last season, scoring four goals and providing 10 assists. Despite missing a large chunk of the campaign due to a hamstring injury, the 33-year-old still played a major role in Manchester City's title race.

After returning from the treatment room, Guardiola's side enjoyed an unbeaten end to the English top flight. While De Bruyne fired Manchester City to glory, he currently faces an uncertain future at the club with his contract set to expire next year.

In fact, during an interview with Belgian outlet VTM last month, the midfielder refused to rule out a move to the Middle East. As quoted by Sky Sports, De Bruyne said: "For Michele [his wife], an exotic adventure is okay. These are also conversations that we are increasingly having as a family.

"I still have one year left on my contract, so I have to think about what could happen. My eldest son is now eight years old and knows nothing but England. He also asks how long I will play for City. Once the moment comes, we will have to deal with it in a certain way."

When quizzed on a potential move to Saudi Arabia, the former Chelsea ace added: "At my age you have to be open to everything. You're talking about incredible amounts of money in what may be the end of my career. Sometimes you have to think about that.

"If I play there for two years, I will be able to earn an incredible amount of money. Before that I had to play football for 15 years. I may not even reach that amount yet. Then you have to think about what that could mean next. But at the moment I haven't had to think about that yet."

If Ederson AND De Bruyne, who are valued at a combined €85m (£72m) by Transfermarkt, were to leave Manchester City this summer then Arsenal would undoubtedly be given a huge boost to their chances of winning the Premier League.