Manchester City Transfer News: Jason Denayer to Join Lyon Amid Celtic Rumours

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JULY 25: Jason Denayer of Manchester City during the International Champions Cup 2018 match between Manchester City and Liverpool at MetLife Stadium on July 25, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester City centre-back Jason Denayer will join Lyon ahead of former loan club Celtic, according to the French side's president Jean-Michel Aulas.

As reported by the Sun's Steve Goodman, Aulas revealed the player is in France, and he's confident he will officially announce the deal soon:

"Our new player is a Belgium international who has won the league with Galatasaray.

"He has plenty of references.  Yes, it could well be Jason Denayer.

"Will he join us soon? He is in Lyon at the moment.

"Matters have moved on as we received a refusal from Benfica [for Ruben Dias] after talking to them for a month.

"As that avenue came to an end, we negotiated with Manchester City for two days.

"I think we will be able to announce we have signed a defender."

Galatasaray's Belgian defender Jason Denayer (R) vies for the ball with Besiktas' Spanish forward Alvaro Negredo during the Turkish Spor Toto Super league football match between Galataray and Besiktas on April 29, 2018 at the TT Arena stadium in Istanbul.
OZAN KOSE/Getty Images

Per the report, Celtic were also keen on the former Sunderland loanee, who initially appeared set to return to Turkey. Denayer spent two seasons on loan with Galatasaray, and they were regarded as the favourites for his signature.

The 23-year-old has been with City since 2013, but after showing plenty of promise as a prospect, his development stalled during subsequent loan spells. He was solid with Galatasaray and Celtic, but frequently played out of position with Sunderland and appeared to lose confidence.

A permanent transfer away from the Sky Blues has seemed inevitable for a few years, and is likely the type of move the defender needs to get back on track.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - DECEMBER 17: Jason Denayer of Galatasaray  during the Turkish Super lig  match between Malatyaspor v Galatasaray at the Malatya Arena on December 17, 2017 in Istanbul Turkey (Photo by Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Denayer was once regarded as a major part of the Belgian national team setup, thanks to his raw potential and versatility. He played right-back for the team during the 2016 European championships, and chipped in as a defensive midfielder for the Black Cats.

The Red Devils' biggest need is in the heart of the defence, where key players Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen and Jan Vertonghen are all on the wrong side of 30. For Belgium's sake, a permanent move for Denayer would be ideal, if that's what helps him continue his development.

As explained by Sport Witness' Tom Coast, Ligue 1 does not allow for buy-back clauses, so if Denayer is sold to Lyon, City will not have the chance to bring him back on the cheap.