The 27-year-old is still without a team following his release at the end of last season and despite being linked to several teams, including LaLiga side Valencia, he hasn’t signed anywhere just yet.
Carlos, who ruptured his Achilles in the win over Everton at the weekend, is set to be sidelined for the next six months, at least, so there’s a growing need for further defensive reinforcements before the 11pm transfer deadline on September 1st.
It is perhaps quite surprising to see Denayer without a club as football gets back underway right across Europe as he has plenty of experience to offer.
Indeed, the versatile 6-foot colossus has racked up 35 caps for Belgium, including appearances at Euro 2016 and 2020, as well as 24 appearances in the Premier League for Sunderland back in 2016/17 and played 139 times for Lyon across the French top-flight and both the Champions League and Europa League, as per Transfermarkt.
Despite a lack of minutes last season, Denayer was still a solid option – when compared to his positional peers in Europe, the Belgium star still ranked within the top 9% for blocks (2.25 per 90) and the top 1% for pass completion (94.2%), per FBref, who also liken his statistical profile to that of Carlos.
That would make him a solid candidate to fill the Brazilian’s void over the rest of the year – and potentially beyond – so if sporting director Johan Lange can seal a move for him, then it could be a masterclass from the Danish supremo.
His one-time partnership with Virgil Van Dijk at Celtic saw Denayer lauded as a “rock” by then-teammate Gary Mackay-Steven, whilst former Belgium boss Marc Wilmots once likened him to winger Eden Hazard.
“Jason is like Eden Hazard,” he said. “Always calm. I’ve never seen him nervous; he has a lot of confidence and there will be someone with experience standing next to him.”
With Villa needing further depth at the back, it would make sense for Lange to swoop for Denayer as he wouldn’t cost the club’s owners, Nassef Sawiris Wes Edens (NSWE), a penny in terms of a transfer fee, thus minimising the risk upon Carlos’ return.
The former Celtic man can also play at full-back and in midfield, so his use to Gerrard could still be beneficial in the long run and as such, he’d make a pretty fine signing at this stage of the window.
AND in other news, Gregg Evans claims Villa are “advancing” contract talks with £52k-p/w talent…