Belgium's Denayer, Boyata partnership shows Celtic what could've been

Celtic fans show their support during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Celtic FC and Bayern Muenchen at Celtic Park on October 31, 2017 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Celtic look set to lose Dedryck Boyata after reportedly trying and failing to bring Jason Denayer back to the Scottish Premiership in the summer.

Dedryck Boyata and Jason Denayer during the UEFA Nations League A group two match between Belgium and Switzerland at King Baudouin stadion on October 12, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

Celtic might have kept three successive clean sheets in domestic football but to claim that their defensive issues are a thing of the past would be a little premature.

Brendan Rodgers’ side have looked shaky at the back throughout 2018 with defeats against the likes of Kilmarnock, AEK Athens and Red Bull Salzburg this season highlighting a well publicised Achilles heel.

So Roberto Martinez’s comments on Thursday morning will hurt.


Dedryck Boyata partnered Jason Denayer at centre-back in Belgium’s 1-1 draw against a resurgent Netherlands outfit on Tuesday and the Rote Duivels manager Martinez was hugely impressed by what he sees as a burgeoning relationship.

"I learned that Boyata can play as the lead defender and puts on increasingly mature performances every time he plays for Belgium. Jason Denayer was very strong in possession too,” the former Everton and Wigan boss said in quotes reported by the Daily Record.

"I was impressed by the way they understood each other and there is a basis of a good partnership there.”

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez during the International friendly match between Belgium and The Netherlands at the King Baudouin Stadium on October 16, 2018  in Brussels, Belgium

So Celtic fans will be wondering what might have been. The Scottish champions would love to keep Boyata at Parkhead for the foreseeable future but an exit looks imminent with Celtic failing to extend a contract that expires at the end of the season.

Denayer, meanwhile, is currently at Lyon but The Hoops were reported to have been close to bringing their former loan star back to Glasgow. Nieuwsblad claimed in August that Celtic were winning the race to sign him from Manchester City before he headed to France.

And after watching Jack Hendry struggle, Josip Simunovic warm the bench and Marvin Compper still out of action, Celtic could only dream of enjoying a Boyata – Denayer partnership for years to come.

Quincy Promes of the Netherlands controls the ball infront of Jason Denayer and Dedryck Boyata of Belgium during the International Friendly match between Belgium and Netherlands at King...

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