Jason Denayer left Manchester City this summer on a season-long loan to Galatasaray. The Turkish side are keen on buying him, according to Stuart Brennan at the Manchester Evening News. However, their valuation of £7 million is way below City’s.
Not that the Blues would want to sell anyway. With Martin Demichelis set to turn 35 this month and his performances on the decline, the plan is reportedly to bring Denayer back into the squad next season and let him battle for a starting berth with Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala.
Denayer, 20, was seen by many as being ready for the City first team this season after his successful loan period at Celtic in 2014/15. However, with Manuel Pellegrini preferring experience, he opted to offer Demichelis a one-year contract extension, with the young Belgian given a chance to taste top-level football in Turkey.
With hindsight, it was the wrong decision. Denayer, who is young, quick and powerful, would probably have been a better option than the ageing Demichelis who is evidently struggling with the intensity of Premier League football this season.
Denayer’s move to Galatasaray has been far less fruitful than his spell at Celtic Park. He has made just six league appearances, with three of them involving a period playing at right-back, with another four coming in the Champions League.
New Galatasaray coach Mustafa Denizli, who replaced Hamza Hamzaoglu last month, appears to like Denayer, having played him in the two games immediately after his appointment.
However, the defender is currently out injured having suffered a knee injury in a Champions League match with Atletico Madrid at the end of November.
Denayer has shown further evidence of his quality, though. His pace and power are clear, and his reading of the game continues to improve the more he plays first-team football. Like Mangala, he is blessed with natural attributes, but the hope at City is that Denayer can turn into a more intelligent footballer than the Frenchman is at the moment.
The signs are good. Two assists from right-back have shown he has the ability to contribute to the attacking side of the game—something he will look to develop further when he returns to the team—and his aerial ability also continues to get better.
Galatasaray sit third in the Super Lig table, six points off leaders Besiktas, and if Denayer can get himself fit, he could help them push towards the title in the second half of the season.
His real battle, though, is forcing his way into City’s plans during 2016/17. Demichelis is almost certain to have returned to his homeland by then, and Mangala, too, could be sacrificed if his concentration issues continue to undermine his performances.
Kompany’s fitness worries are another concern for the City staff, with the Belgian’s calf injuries an ongoing problem.
The ideal scenario next season would be for Komapany and Otamendi to be joined by Denayer and John Stones, with Mangala sacrificed, unless, of course, the former Porto man, 24, can improve drastically and begin fulfilling his obvious talent.
The signs are that Denayer can flourish at City. His time at Galatasaray has brought out some new attributes, namely adaptability and a willingness to get forward when the time is right.
City, who are desperate to start bringing their academy stars into the first team, have a centre-back whose potential is beginning to turn into genuine quality that’s good enough to enrich their squad.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2015/16 season. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow him on Twitter @RobPollard_.