Memphis Depay - A failure?
By Anthony Kendrick - Follow him on Twitter @Antonthology
So, Manchester United have sold Memphis Depay to Lyon for £16m. And I wish him the best of luck.
When he first joined Man Utd, the then-manager van Gaal said that the club wanted to wait before signing him, but decided to act early because of interest from other clubs. He arrived with a big reputation, scoring 28 goals for Ajax the previous season including some excellent free kicks. At the time, it was undoubtedly the correct decision to buy him.
In the beginning, he was starting games, but was often brought off before the end. and he had his moments. Against Watford, he scored the winner and deservedly was man of the match when he was the only option upfront, and scored five goals in last season's European campaign.
Moving on to this season and twenty minutes of gametime under Jose Mourinho in the Premier League, and a couple of substitute appearances in the league shows that he cannot get anywhere near the side at this moment in time. There is no shame in that when you consider the signings of Henrikh Mkhitarian and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, along with Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford. There are many options in the attacking positions. Often he had't even been on the bench.
Another factor in this is that it is argued that his ego is too big. Sky Sports' Charlie Nichols has called him a show pony, van Gaal said that he is too eager to impress and he undoubtedly likes to have a flashy lifestyle. I am inclined to agree with this, he certainly wants to be the big star. But it doesn't stop him becoming a top player. You don't even have to look beyond Man United to see players with big egos, the aforementioned Pogba and Ibrahimovic just to name two.
All in all, I think this move will be very good for Memphis Depay. He will be in a weaker league in France, and also be one of the key players in a decent Lyon side. He also remains in the Europa league, with Lyon's tie against AZ Alkmaar in February. I think he will do well at Lyon.
The buy-back clause could prove to be very significant for Manchester United. It is not often put into deals by British clubs, but the best two examples of clubs who have used it abroad are Real Madrid and Barcelona. A number of their youth players don't quite make the grade. One example is Dani Carvajal, who returned to Real Madrid for just £6m after one season at Leverkusen and has become arguably the best right back in the world. Denis Suarez has returned to Barcelona, and they could buy back Alen Halilovic, Adama Traore or Gerard Deulofeu.
A six-month loan would not be the answer for Depay. He needs to feel part of a new club, plenty of time to develop. I wish him the best of luck in France and I think he can still become one of the top wingers in the world, and even return to Manchester United with a new attitude, with more determination to back up his ego