Jason Denayer was one of five players to exit the Etihad Stadium on transfer deadline day. His late move to Sunderland was overshadowed by the high profile departures of Joe Hart, Eliaquim Mangala, Samir Nasri and Wilfried Bony on loan – and yet it may well be the young Belgium international who has the biggest chance of playing for Pep Guardiola’s side again.
It was reluctantly that City ceded the 21-year-old centre-back, after Pep wanted to keep him around and adapt Denayer to his methods. Despite blocking a second loan to Galatasaray, however, City eventually succumbed to the wishes of Denayer and his entourage by consenting to a Premier League loan.
Denayer joined Sunderland and made his debut on Tuesday in the Mackems’ penalty shootout defeat at Rochdale.
Speaking about how he came to leave City, Denayer told the press:
“It was my choice. It was not difficult, because I want to play – that was the most important thing for me.
“It was an easy decision to move to Sunderland. I cannot wait and wait and wait all my life so it was the right time for me to move.
“I know I need to work a lot because it is not going to be easy.”
Despite the move from title challengers City to a team tipped to battle relegation, Denayer will still have to fight for his place. Sunderland have the likes of Lamine Koné, Papy Djilobodji and John O’Shea, all of whom the Belgian will have to compete with for minutes. He isn’t concerned though, and said:
“There are challenges everywhere in football. You cannot go somewhere where there are only two central defenders and be sure you are going to play.
“Football is like this – there are challenges all the time.”