CELTIC’S on-loan defender Jason Denayer is poised to be named in Manchester City’s first team squad for the new season.
The 19-year-old Belgian has impressed since arriving in the summer and teaming up with Virgil Van Dijk in the centre of the Hoops rearguard.
Ronny Deila was keen to keep Denayer on an extended temporary deal for another campaign, but even chief executive Peter Lawwell believes that is highly unlikely.
He admitted: “I think Jason will be looking to go back to City.”
Etihad boss Manuel Pellegrini is already planning ahead after seeing Denayer’s fellow-Belgian international Vincent Kompany struggle in recent months.
The club skipper, 28, was left on the bench during the 2-0 win over Leicester City in midweek and the City gaffer warned he may also sit out the next game against Burnley at Turf Moor a week tomorrow.
Denayer scored on his debut in the 6-1 rout of Dundee United in August and took his tally to four in 29 appearances with the opening goal in the crucial 4-0 win over Aberdeen last week.
Pellegrini has promised to make changes in the summer as he refreshes his first team pool and there is also likely to be a recall for Portuguese midfielder Marcos Lopes after an excellent spell with French outfit Lille.
Denayer and Lopes are both classed as club-trained and homegrown, which would go a long way to solving City’s tight quota.
Another factor that could come into play would be if Manchester City, as seems likely, finish this season empty handed and decide to change their manager. While Manuel Pellegrini may want Denayer back there would be no such guarantee from a new boss.