Former Celtic defender Jason Denayer is headed for Qatar after a late call-up by Belgium boss Roberto Martinez. The defender has been drafted in as a four-man shortlist to cover for injury doubt Jan Vertonghen.
The Belgian Internationalist made a surprise career move in the summer, opting to reject Premier league and, even, European interest for a move to Emirati club Shabab Al-Ahli. This move is likely why Denayer wasn’t included in the 26-man squad initially. However, given the nature of the mid-season competition, Denayer may benefit from the injury of a colleague.
Denayer has often been linked with a return to Celtic after impressing in a season under Ronny Deila in Glasgow’s East End. Denayer struck up a partnership with Virgil Van Dijk and the pair would help Celtic to a League and League Cup double. The player would go onto win the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year, arriving in August 2014.
Denayer played 44 games, scoring six times and assisting twice. There was a lot of chat around him returning but Man City decided to send him to Galatasaray (twice) and Sunderland before he left for Lyon.
Denayer is now playing his football in UAE, which is particularly surprising given his age and quality. It is all the more surprising considering Crystal Palace were keen on signing Denayer, which would have prompted a reunion with Patrick Vieira; however, this move appears to have been financially motivated.