Jason Denayer is unlikely to replace the stricken Diego Carlos at Premier League outfit Aston Villa with the former Manchester City defender set to join Al-Nassr in the Middle East instead, according to Rudy Galetti.
Steven Gerrard, his mood dampened by Carlos’ sudden and serious-looking injury following Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Aston Villa, admitted that the Midland giants may be forced into the transfer market if the £26 million summer signing was ruled out for an extended period of time.
Some 48 hours later, his worst fears were confirmed.
Carlos, having ruptured his Achilles, might already have played his final game this season. And, since that news emerged, Aston Villa have been linked with a flurry of central defenders; Young and old, affordable and expensive.
The hunt is on.
Who will replace Diego Carlos at Aston Villa?
The 27-year-old has vast experience. He knows British football from spells at City, Sunderland and Celtic. And he could slot in immediately at Aston Villa. What’s more, he’s far more affordable than, say, Galatasaray’s Victor Nelsson.
Denayer, capped 35 times by Belgium, is a free-agent. His contract at French giants Lyon expired at the start of July.
But according to Galetti, a respected reporter who works for Sky and Calciomercato, Al-Nassr will be Denayer’s destination. The Saudi Arabian outfit, he says, he fought off interest from the likes of Torino and Valencia. Denayer will sign a two-year deal worth just shy of £60,000-a-week at Al-Nassr, joining former Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo, Cameroon striker Vincent Aboubakar and ex-Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina.
Rob Holding is one potential alternative for Aston Villa. Juventus’ Daniele Rugani another. Nelsson, meanwhile, is has a good relationship with Villa director Johan Lange from their time together at Copenhagen.
The Denmark international wants to leave Galatasaray this month. A potential £17 million price-tag, however, could have Villa prioritising alternative options.
Denayer ticked almost every box imaginable. Now, Aston Villa may have to widen their search.