Football Manager enthusiasts and Dutch football followers will know all about Manchester United’s new signing Memphis Depay, but will he be able to make a lasting impact on the Premier League? Louis van Gaal spent £25million to bring the winger to Old Trafford so Reds’ fans will be expecting big things from the Dutchman.
Depay is held in high regard and is considered as one of the best young talents in the world of football. If one thing is for certain Manchester United have signed a player with potential. Depay finished top scorer in the Eredivisie scoring 22 goals and guiding PSV to their first league title since 2008.
A lot of debate has been made over who United should sign. Many believe they need a defender and a midfielder with the possibility of a new striker, however given their lack of wingers and Van Gaal’s slow switch to more conventional formations using wide men, wingers are needed. Yes, Angel Di Maria is a winger, however, his form from last season hasn’t exactly been inspiring and if the rumour mill is correct he may be on his way to Paris.
Other wide options include Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Adnan Januzaj; although a good trio of players to rely upon none of them offer the pace, skill and final product of Depay, whom created 60 chances last season more than any other Manchester United player – collecting 5 assists along the way.
Another trait that will benefit Manchester United is Depay’s versatility. In the World Cup we saw Van Gaal use him as a striker and during his time at PSV has played behind the striker and on either wing.
A standout point in this transfer is the relationship between Van Gaal and Depay. The 21-year-old has previously said he sees Van Gaal as a father figure for him and trusts him. This will be massive for Depay to make an impact in the Premier League. We’ve seen with Di Maria when things were not going the Argentine’s way his head dropped and his confidence hit a low we’d never seen before. This will be different with Depay as their relationship is one of the strongest in football and will help Depay adapt to Manchester life.
Another cog missing from Manchester United’s proverbial machine is pace. The ability to drive with the ball and beat a man, or directness from a counter attack. Pace is vital in the Premier League. Depay completed 80 take ons this season, this was more than any Manchester United winger. He was also fouled 49 times, again, more than any other Manchester United winger.
Despite all the positives there will be massive pressure on Depay to make an impact. Old Trafford has no time adaptation, as we’ve seen from Di Maria and Falcao. He will have to make an instant impact to win over fans and pundits alike. If he struggles in the opening weeks we may see another player given a chance to prove themselves and Depay lose his place in the squad. If he makes an instant impact he could become a fan favourite. He certainly has the tools to do well.
By Callum Read – @