Manchester United are rumoured to be in the market for a centre-back after The Times reported earlier this summer that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had drawn up a four man defensive shortlist.
The Reds have been linked with a host of players including Villarreal’s Pau Torres, RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano and AS Monaco’s Benoit Badiashile.
It is understood that Solskjaer is keen to add a centre-back to his defensive options after both Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly continue to fail to impress alongside club captain Harry Maguire.
Despite United’s relentless links to centre-backs from all over Europe, one player they haven’t been linked with is ex-Manchester City defender and current Lyon defender Jason Denayer.
Denayer, 25, has had a patchy career on paper and after failing to break into City’s first-team after climbing their youth ranks, the Belgian defender found himself sent out on loan in three consecutive seasons to Celtic, Galatasaray and even Sunderland.
After Denayer’s last unsuccessful loan spell in Turkey with Galatasaray in 2018 the 25-year-old eventually left Man City on a permanent deal to join Lyon in an attempt to salvage his career.
The defender has been an utter revelation under Rudi Garcia and in my opinion, has become one of the most under appreciated centre-backs in Europe’s top-flights.
Denayer’s defensive contributions over the last two seasons have helped his side climb to a third place Ligue 1 finish in the 2018-19 season which consequently put them in last season’s Champions League competition.
The resolute centre-back continued his impressive form and with the help of his solid defensive game helped his side impressively reach the Champions League semi-finals in a campaign which saw the French side beat the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus and Denayer’s old team Man City.
Denayer has proven over the last two seasons that judging a player too quickly can be misleading after the Lyon centre-back has proved he has all the required attributes to make it in England’s top-flight.
The Belgian defender is both quick and strong, he reads the game exceptionally well and when on the ball has the necessary technical capabilities required to transition play effectively.
I have yet to see a European game or domestic game that Denayer has featured in where he hasn’t impressed me. The versatile defender is able to play on either side of a centre-back partnership and although his preferred foot is his right, he is more than competent on his left.
Perhaps Denayer’s strongest area of his game is his aerial ability which is extremely impressive considering at just six foot tall, he is not the tallest of defenders.
Denayer is extremely dominant in the air and wins well over half his domestic aerial duels, a feature which would undoubtedly be welcomed at Old Trafford given the lack of cohesion still to be formed between the current centre-backs.
Currently valued at around the £9m mark (TransferMarkt) with just under two-years left on his current deal, Denayer could be the perfect solution to Solskjaer’s defensive worries both in the short-term and long-term.
Would you welcome Denayer at Old Trafford or would you prefer to see someone else line-up at the back?
Let us know in the comments.