One of the hottest young names on the European transfer market for this summer was that of Dutch winger Memphis Depay, and on Thursday it was announced that Manchester United had reached a deal with PSV Eindhoven to sign the winger when the transfer market opens in June.
Since I know that the number of people in America who follow the Eredivisie is somewhere between one and ten, I’m here to let you know who exactly Memphis Depay is.
I’ve had my eyes on Memphis Depay all season after the player kept popping up constantly as a potential transfer target in my career mode on FIFA 15 and FIFA career mode has had a great track record of letting me know what young players are going to become stars a few years down the road (even if Franco di Santo in FIFA 11 and Wilfried Zaha in FIFA 13 didn’t quite reach their expectations).
Memphis (yes he goes by his first name and yes even I think that’s weird) had drawn interest from a number of European clubs, and likely chose Manchester United because of Louis van Gaal, the manager who gave him his international debut. As a 20 year old Memphis made the Dutch World Cup squad for the 2014 World Cup. Memphis came on as a sub in the second group game vs. Australia where he set up Robin van Persie’s equalizer and then scored the winner himself.
The scouting report on Memphis Depay goes like this. He’s a right footed winger who usually plays as an inverted left winger. Louis van Gaal has called him a “goal scoring winger, similar to Messi” (hyperbole alert!) and the winger has already been criticized for looking to score more then he looks to set up his teammates, something a winger is supposed to do. The fact that Memphis (note: I hate writing just Memphis, it’s weird, Depay is a lot simpler) has a lot more goals then assists isn’t something to worry about at this stage of his career. The kid is 21 years old and he’ll (hopefully) learn how to pass, cross, and trust his teammates over time especially at Manchester United*.
So what does the arrival of Memphis Depay mean for Manchester United? Well the news is barely a day old and I’ve already seen separate articles asking what does this mean for Ashley Young, Angel di Maria, and Adnan Januzaj? Frankly, those articles are ridiculous.
It was always obvious this summer was going to be a very interesting one at Old Trafford. New players were always going to be brought in and therefore existing players were going to leave. Furthermore, players like Januzaj were always likely to leave as they have failed to make an impression with van Gaal and would be seeking more first team opportunities elsewhere.
As much as I’d love for the arrival of Memphis Depay to signal the end of Ashley Young it’s pretty unlikely that will be the case. The players do have some similarities (ok their both inverted wingers and that’s about it), but as of now Ashley Young is much better defensively, a quality that van Gaal values. Furthermore, United will still need depth, especially with them competing in Europe next season.
Nevertheless the arrival of Memphis is United admitting that Ashley Young is simply not good enough for them. If Memphis continues to progress as his career has the past couple of years, it won’t be too long before he’s a bonafide star and the player United need. For now though, keeping Ashley Young around allows Memphis time to grow and develop at a positive rate. Most importantly, it’ll allow Memphis to adapt to the Premier League, something that he should be able to do as most of the players
not named Jozy Altidore who have come from Holland have made the jump to the Premier League rather successfully.
While the signing of Memphis Depay is good news for Manchester United and their fans it’s still far too early to make any predictions about how the team will look next summer. There were always going to be massive changes at Old Trafford this summer, Memphis is simply the first domino to fall.
*Midway through writing that sentence I realized how ridiculous it was. Antonio Valencia’s crossing ability has REGRESSED during his time at United and Ashley Young still has no idea what he’s doing.