Manchester City’s unravelling season has had many symptoms, among them a criminal lack of consistency from the club’s centre-halves.
Vincent Kompany, an exemplary practitioner in their title-winning rearguard of 2013/14, has looked a shadow of his former self.
Meanwhile, £31.8m summer signing Eliaquim Mangala has started just five of their last 14 games having failed to commence Etihad life with the requisite bang.
As a result, Martin Demichelis has once more come in for far more minutes than he should do at any self respecting Champions League chasers.
In the meantime the cruelly overlooked Matija Nastasic has been performing with credit on loan at Schalke.
However, the future for the City defence may currently be plying his trade a good deal closer to the Etihad, at Celtic Park to be precise.
Citizens-owned youngster Jason Denayer, 19, has been on loan with the Bhoys since the beginning of the campaign and his 17/20 to make over 5.5 starts for his parent club this season.
The Belgian has been on Celtic manager Ronny Deila’s radar since the latter’s days at Stromgodset, who have special relationship with City.
Deila was pleased with the move at the time, telling reporters:
“Jason is going to be worth a lot of money. He is already worth a lot, maybe £10m.
“I think we could get an option to buy, but I don’t think we have enough money.
“He’s a very good player and will have a great future – people will see it when he plays.”
The Norwegian hasn’t been disappointed since either, playing the teenager no fewer than 36 times across domestic and European competitions.
Denayer has excelled alongside Virgil Van Dijk at the heart of the Hoops’ defence, notching six times and winning the Scottish Premier League’s young player of the month award for March.
On the 31st of that month his burgeoning talent was recognised at full international level when Marc Wilmots brought him on as a 67th-minute substitute in the Rode Duivels’ Euro 2016 qualifier in Israel.
The former Anderlecht trainee has been invited to join City on their pre-season tour of Australia and the Far East and already expressed his desire to feature for the Citizens in 2015/16, telling the Manchester Evening News:
“I hope next season to be ready to play for City,” he said.
“If I ever get the chance to play with Vincent Kompany then I know I will have made it.
“My view is that I will return to City next season.”