Back in 2015, when Manchester United signed Memphis Depay, many United fans including myself, were excited about the Dutch international, in what he could possibly be at United. Having defeated Liverpool once again, this time by signing the talented youngster, it was a special feeling. Considering the Dutch influence at the club, with Van Gaal being United manager, expectations were high on Memphis, especially after a successful and impressive campaign back in 2014 at the World Cup making things, on paper, easier for the Dutch. Just in 21 years of age, he was joining the biggest club in England, an honour and a golden opportunity to launch himself in the best league in the world. His last two seasons with PSV were quite impressive as in the 2014/2015 season according to WhoScored, he scored 28 goals in all competitions for the Dutch club, 20 goals in 30 games in the League and he was even considered one of the best free kick takers around Europe at the time scoring seven goals in 30 attempts, even doing better than Messi and Ronaldo that season.
During the pre-season in the United States of America in 2015, even though these were just friendly games, a lot of questions would get answers regarding Memphis. He made his debut in a Manchester United shirt against Club America only playing 45 minutes, pressing on the ball, yet refusing to pass when necessary; this was an early concern about the Reds. In an interview after the game about the changes he was facing he told MUTV:
“I think the speed of the game. I can see it and I can feel it in training with the players. It’s different. I’m enjoying it.”
A concern that somehow would define his first season with Manchester United. He scored a goal against San Jose Earthquakes in that 3-1 victory but his physicality remained as the biggest question, as the Dutch seemed to have problems once again. Despite this he was determined to shine and that’s why he was handed the number seven for the new season clearly showing that Louis van Gaal trusted his compatriot. Memphis should’ve known better than anyone that the key to success under Van Gaal was to embrace his philosophy, thing that he seemed to have forgotten, as the player kept doing the same errors all over again. He surely showed some of his skills in a couple of games but that was all.
The problem was obvious, his inconsistent life, his laziness and the lack of commitment were all factors that Memphis wasn’t justifying his price, even becoming an issue among all other problems that United was facing last season. It was a love-hate relationship between him and Van Gaal as the former United manager would praise him during the conferences, saying that it was a matter of time before we would all see the Memphis that everyone had praised and compared to Holland greats, but after getting tired of his behaviour, Van Gaal benched him, completely blowing his confidence and growing the frustration into him. Another thing that Memphis didn’t do right was the problem he had with former Manchester United striker Robin van Persie during the International Break in 2015. The Dutch manager denied the story but everyone was fed up of Memphis’ attitude back then, so it’s completely believable that Memphis would pick on Van Persie, former United player. Exactly what it wasn’t needed to change his situation.
There are a few things that we could all blame Van Gaal for, but when it comes to Memphis he did all he could. He might be a well-known manager for benching players for no reason, Herrera is an example of this policy followed by the Dutch during his tenure, but with Memphis things went that way because the player was aiming to do so. Yet he is hitting on his former manager on his interviews even saying the new manager believes in him showing this publicly and in person, but all what Memphis has done is the talking so far. Back in the summer there were reports that he might go into a new club on loan or even sold permanently but Mourinho decided to keep him as according to Manchester Evening News, the player was actually impressing the manager and a new chance was going to be offered to him. We haven’t seen much of Memphis this season, as he has started only one game. He hasn’t scored any goal but what makes it worse is the fact that from the fans’ point of the view, his presence won’t change the game at all. A loan move is expected to happen in January, it may be Everton, Liverpool but in the last hours Juventus seem to be interested on a loan deal as well and on the other hand Milan have always had an eye on him.
Would this be the best for him? Probably yes. The Premier League is a difficult league as besides talent, it requires hard work and commitment, something that Memphis lacks. The only way for him to make it in the headlines is his fancy car or another show of his bad behaviour, something that Jose Mourinho really doesn’t like. Jose had this kind of extreme with Balotelli and got tired of him quickly. After the game against Swansea, Jose dropped a hint of what it could be the players’ attitude problems and the media immediately targeted Shaw and Smalling. Memphis might easily be in this list as Jose’s demands might seem too hard for him and he didn’t even make the bench. If that’s what it expects him at United then, the best thing is to send him somewhere where he could play more, consider his actions and save his Manchester United career. It’s all on Memphis, whether he still wants to be the big boy he claims to be, playing for Manchester United or go somewhere else, in a mid-table club, be the new Nani or Macheda and wonder what it could’ve been if he had a different attitude and actually worked for something worth.
Written by Fabiola Cejku