Once a target for both Manchester clubs, Danish centre-back Simon Kjaer may soon be leaving the Bundesliga.
At Old Trafford, talk was of a departure for Nemanja Vidic, with the Danish centre-back an ideal replacement. While at City, Kjaer was seen as a potential long-term partner for the rapidly-improving Vincent Kompany.
Despite Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini naming both City and United as interested parties, no move came. And instead the player found his way to the Bundesliga.
In the interim, Sir Alex Ferguson blooded the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, while Roberto Mancini has settled on the impressive pairing of Kompany and Matija Nastasic.
And yet Kjaer – now with German side Wolfsburg – is unsure if his future lies with the club.
Reports from Sky Sports suggest he is willing to stay and fight for his place, but with a contract that runs only until 2014, there is a sense of inevitability in the player’s words:
“If they say that I have to leave, then I will have no choice but to accept it.”
It is important to remember that Kjaer is still only 24. And that despite a less than spectacular time in Germany he is still an extremely impressive defender with years to improve.
He appeared to have an excellent relationship with former Wolfsburg manager Steve McLaren, under whom he was a first choice defender. But under McLaren’s successor Felix Magath, Kjaer slipped down the pecking order, before spending a year back in Italy on loan at Roma.
And yet this season he has regained some of his previous form, making 20 appearances for a Wolfsburg side currently 12th in the Bundesliga.
It could be argued that Kjaer has never pushed on from his impressive teenage years, during which time he was crowned Danish Talent of the Year. But at such a young age he could still prove to be a fantastic signing for any one of a number of Premier League clubs.
For now he remains happy at Wolfsburg. But the more important question is how long they remain happy with him.
Should he leave, either in the summer or at the end of his contract, don’t be surprised to see him in the Premier League. Even if it isn’t at either of the clubs he was once most strongly linked with.
Which clubs in the Premier League would benefit from Kjaer's services? And could he still end up at either United or City?
image: © @boetter