Celtic managed to keep hold of wantaway centre-back Dedryck Boyata during the summer transfer window, but former star Jason Denayer’s latest display for Lyon in the Champions League suggests they should have cashed in on the Belgian and brought his compatriot back to Celtic Park instead.
Well, the 27-year-old Bhoys star was attracting plenty of interest – including from Premier League side Fulham – having made more appearances than he may have expected to for his country at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where he impressed alongside the likes of Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Vincent Kompany.
Even though it was well-documented via his agent that he was keen to go, the dominant central defender ended up remaining in Glasgow going into the final year of his contract, and even scored the winner in the 1-0 Old Firm victory against Rangers earlier this month.
With the likes of Jack Hendry and Jozo Simunovic looking shaky in the Belgian’s absence at the very beginning of the campaign, Brendan Rodgers had little choice but to reintegrate him into the team following a stuttering start – even if the fans may not have agreed with the decision.
The 23-year-old was a big favourite alongside Virgil van Dijk at Parkhead during the 2014/15 campaign as he made 44 appearances in all competitions and scored six goals.
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Given his outstanding Champions League display for Lyon – for whom he joined for €6.5m (around £6m) initially, well in Celtic’s price range – in their brilliant 2-1 win against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night, the Scottish Premiership holders may well have made an error not getting rid of one Belgian and replacing him with another.
Denayer had no trouble dealing with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero, and he proved he could have been a huge star for Celtic this season – perhaps even saving their own Champions League campaign – and chief executive Peter Lawwell should already be regretting this poor transfer call.