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Sports : How Memphis Depay went from Manchester United flop to Lionel Messi’s new strike partner and Netherlands’ star man at Euro 2020

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No one could have foreseen Memphis Depay’s rise after his acrimonious Manchester United exit.

There were high expectation when the Dutchman, who was 21 years old at the time, arrived at Old Trafford for £25million from PSV Eindhoven in 2015.

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Depay failed to fulfil the high expectations at Man United

Depay had finished the 2014/15 season as the Eredivisie’s top scorer with 22 goals as PSV won a first top-flight title in seven years.

Linking up with his fellow countryman, then-United boss Louis van Gaal, was seen as another positive in what looked set to be the start of an exciting partnership.

However, Depay struggled to adapt to Premier League football and scored just two Premier League goals in his debut season in England.

Van Gaal struggled to get the best out of Depay

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Van Gaal struggled to get the best out of Depay

He quickly lost his place in the Man United starting XI with Van Gaal opting to play academy graduate Jesse Lingard ahead of him.

Van Gaal was sacked after the 2015/16 campaign and if Depay felt like he would have a fresh start under a new manager, he was wrong.

Jose Mourinho replaced Van Gaal and left Depay out in the cold.

The 27-year-old made just eight appearances (one start) in four months before being sold to Lyon for £15m in January 2017.

Depay barely got a look-in under Mourinho

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Depay barely got a look-in under Mourinho

It was in Lyon where Depay revived his once promising career.

In his four seasons in France, Depay scored 76 goals in 178 games and was transformed from a winger into a centre forward.

Not only did his form drastically improve with Lyon, his leadership skills shone through as well when he was named the first-team captain in 2019.

Meanwhile, on the international scene, Depay has been in and around the senior Netherlands squad since 2013.

But during his time with Lyon, he has become an integral part to the Netherlands’ hopes of winning silverware.

With two goals and one assist in three matches at Euro 2020, the Netherlands’ chances of lifting the trophy will depend on Depay’s form.

Depay is hoping to lead the Netherlands to Euro 2020 glory

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Depay is hoping to lead the Netherlands to Euro 2020 glory

His overall record for his country is impressive, too, with 28 goals in 67 appearances.

Depay’s form has not gone unnoticed from football’s biggest clubs.

He has agreed a two-year deal to join Barcelona when his contract ends at the end of this month.

And with Lionel Messi close to signing a new two-year deal with the LaLiga giants, a front three of Messi, Depay and Antoine Griezmann would frighten any defence.

Despite his failed spell at Manchester United, Old Trafford chiefs must have still seen Depay’s potential as they inserted a buy-back clause into the deal that saw him move to Lyon.

So, why did it all go wrong for Depay in Manchester?

Depay has revived his career at Lyon

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Depay has revived his career at Lyon

While speaking to the BBC earlier this month, Red Devils legend Rio Ferdinand said: “I think he’s a maverick.

“He’s a new-age type of personality who embraces everything of the lifestyle of a football player and beyond, and some people who are old school don’t like that and it’s taken time for someone even like me to adapt to that.”

Asked why Depay failed to succeed at United, Ferdinand replied: “I think it comes down to numerous things.

“Timing, the right time and right place, and maturity, he may have gone there too young. And coaching, the right coaching at the right time.”

It is fair to say Depay has proved a lot of his doubters wrong and he will look to maintain his impressive form on the biggest stage at Barcelona.





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