CELTIC want to extend Jason Denayer’s stay at the club into next season, as Ronny Deila seeks to develop the teenage Belgian defender into a valuable asset for Manchester City.
The Celtic manager has revealed that the Scottish champions are already in negotiations with their English counterparts about keeping the on-loan centre-back for another year to allow the sort of progress Denayer’s compatriot, Thibaut Courtois, enjoyed.
Courtois spent three years on loan at Atletico Madrid from Chelsea because there was no guarantee of a first-team place in the Barclays Premier League and made more than 150 appearances in Spain, including a Champions League final, before Chelsea recalled the 22-year-old last summer for their own use.
Denayer came to Celtic on a season-long loan last August but the 19-year-old centre half’s swift grasp of Deila’s demands meant that Denayer was called into the full Belgium national squad as cover for his Manchester City captain, Vincent Kompany. “We are working on Jason Denayer to get his loan period beyond this season,” Deila said yesterday, ahead of today’s Scottish Premiership match at home to Ross County, which Denayer misses through injury.
“I hope to do that [keep Denayer]. He is in good development here. He has not played a lot of matches at the top level and when you are in good flow you should keep doing it to go to the next stage. When he is ready for that, he will go on but it’s also important for us to have consistency going into next season. I have a good feeling. City are co-operating very well with us. I’ve done that with them for many years and this has been a happy relationship so far. We really want to do that in the future as well. I have contacts at City so the communication with them is good.”
Like Denayer, Craig Gordon has been another success story at Celtic this season and the goalkeeper admits he is enjoying the type of festive season he did not even dare to dream about a year ago.
Last Christmas, the 31-year-old was without a club after leaving Sunderland in May, 2012 and had a knee injury which looked as if it might end his career. However, Gordon fought back and won a deal with Celtic in the summer and after taking over as No 1 when Fraser Forster left for Southampton, he has gone from strength to strength.
The former Hearts ’keeper has returned to the Scotland fold, is looking forward to facing Inter Milan in the last-32 of the Europa League and is in with a chance of winning three domestic trophies. Gordon was asked if he could have predicted such a rehabilitation. “No chance,” he said. “That has by far exceeded anything I thought was possible. This time last year I wasn’t contracted anywhere so I stayed at home with family. This year is a little bit different At the same time it shows what can be done if you work hard enough to get there. But I can’t rest on that, I have to continue to push on and try to improve.
“I would love to finish the season as a winner of one, maybe two, maybe three trophies.”