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Memphis Depay seeking a transfer from Lyon. Could a second chance at Old Trafford work for him?

Former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay has reportedly issued a come and get me plea with supposed interest from Premier League side Everton and La Liga side Barcelona this summer. The Dutchman seems to be a much changed player following his 18-month spell at United which started under the reign of Louis van Gaal and ended under the reign of Jose Mourinho about six months into the Portuguese managers spell at the club, which also ended in tears, like his predecessor.

Lyon reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals last season and were beaten 3-0 by the eventual champions, Bayern Munich. During the 2019/20 season, despite the fact that the coronavirus pandemic ended up cancelling the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 seasons in France, Depay made a total of 22 appearances, scoring 15 goals and two assists. It was a standout season for the Dutchman He played his first match for his club during the 2020/21 season against Dijon on Friday, scoring a hat-trick in the 4-1 victory.

Before United signed Depay, he was playing for PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands and made a total of 124 appearances, scoring 50 goals and 29 assists, which is the reason he was signed by Van Gaal in the summer of 2015 but it did not work for him at United with just 53 appearances, scoring seven goals and six assists, which was poor considering what he had achieved in the Netherlands. At Lyon, he had made a total of 139 appearances, scoring 57 goals and 43 assists. Depay spoke to the media after Friday’s victory over Dijon with The Sun quoting him as saying:

“I do not see the future, I do not know if I will do the full season here. I have been here for four years, I became captain.

“After you have to look at your career, there is no Champions League. At the moment I don’t know. I’m really happy to have scored three goals today.

“It wasn’t the best game I’ve played but we start the season with three points, and that’s the most important thing.”

I liked Depay as a player when he signed for United. He seemed to be the missing piece at the time, based on his performances, goals and assists whilst at PSV and the fact that he was the defining player in their league title for the 2014/15 season. However, despite this he hugely faltered at United and became a player that was more frustrated than anything else. The playing style of the club was not the greatest and not to Depay’s strengths, which might have been the main problem.

When Mourinho arrived at the club, Depay already had a mark over him and for a new manager, it meant that if it did not work, he was likely to be moved on quickly, which is what happened. In January 2017, Mourinho allowed the player to be sold to Lyon for £16 million, which could rise to £21.7 million according to the Telegraph. His contract in France ends in the summer of 2021, so this will be the clubs last major chance to get some money for him with him able to sign a pre-contract agreement for a foreign club from January.

Could Depay be a player that United could utilise under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer? Granted, the 26-year-old would fit into the attack dominated playing style and his pace and ability would be seen as a positive but with the performances of Anthony Martial (23 goals, 12 assists), Marcus Rashford (22 goals, 10 assists) and Mason Greenwood (17 goals, five assists) I doubt that he would be anything other than a squad player under Solskjaer. It would have been good to see him succeed at United but it did not happen, probably for the reasons stated and could see him fail again.

Written by John Walker

Moussa Dembele open to Manchester United transfer this summer

Olympique Lyonnais striker Moussa Dembele is open to a move to Manchester United this summer according to the Manchester Evening News. United were last linked to the player last summer as they looked to replace Romelu Lukaku, who signed for Inter Milan last summer and most notably did not win the UEFA Europa League on Friday evening, although he scored the goal that won the match for Sevilla. The 24-year-old is considered to be a hot prospect this season.

In his second season at Lyon, Dembele made a total of 46 appearances, despite the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 seasons being cancelled shortly after suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year. The Frenchman has scored 24 goals and seven assists this season, playing in Ligue 1, the Coupe de France, the Coupe de la Ligue and the UEFA Champions League, reaching the semi-finals where Lyon were beaten 3-0 by finalists Bayern Munich.

Dembele could well be a player that fits into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad this summer with the club needing an out and out striker. However, in January, United signed Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua for the remainder of the season, which was extended due to the coronavirus pandemic with United keeping the player until the end of January 2021. Based on that, United’s need for a striker could see the club wait until January to secure a deal or even finalise a deal but signing one this summer would be a boost for the squad.

Dembele is a player that has a lot of respect from United supporters, especially after defied all odds with the French club beating Manchester City in the quarter-final of the Champions League this season with the Frenchman scoring a brace to win the match after replacing former United forward Memphis Depay in the 75th minute of the match, scoring his first in the 79th minute, restoring the French clubs lead then sealing the win with his second in the 87th minute of the match.

Next season though, Lyon will not be playing European football, not qualifying for either the Champions League or the Europa League after finishing in seventh place in Ligue 1 after the season was cancelled. Lyon club legend and sporting director Juninho feels that the clubs future is safe but that there will be departures this summer. Speaking to RMC Sport and reported by The Sun, Juninho said:

“The aim now is to continue working, immediately with Ligue 1. We will have to work. If we continue like this, we will be back in this competition.

“When you are well paid, you need motivation every day, we are going to concentrate on Ligue 1. There are the basics.

“There will be departures, but I am not worried. When you have players who play very well in a competition like this, like Moussa [Dembele] and Houssem [Aouar]…

“We will have to show the same spirit to be back in the Champions League next season.”

Written by John Walker

Memphis Depay used analytics company to plot perfect transfer away from Manchester United – reports

Memphis Depay signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2015 for just over £30 million, coming from Dutch team PSV Eindhoven, the same club that Ruud van Nistelrooy signed from all those years before. The young Dutch winger was immediately a hit at the club based on his exploits for his club during the 2014/15 season.

During the 2014/15 season at PSV, the winger made a total of 40 appearances for the club, playing in the Eredivisie, the UEFA Europa League (from the qualifying rounds) and in the KNVB Beker. He scored 28 goals and eight assists for his club, who were crowned the champions that season, a good exit for the winger.

His first season at United did not see him reach the same dizzy heights but after making a total of 45 appearances in all competitions; the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, and the League Cup – scoring just seven goals and six assists (although he had three more assists in one game at U21 level).

During the 2016/17 season, after the sacking of Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho was named the manager of the club. Memphis played just eight times in the first half of the season, scoring no goals or assists and in January 2017, he left the club for Lyon making 18 appearances, scoring five goals and eight assists, for just £16 million, possibly £22 million with add-ons, which is still a loss for the apparent ‘next best thing’.

Giels Brouwer, who works for analytics company SciSports, has revealed that Memphis enlisted his services to find the best club for him after United, seemingly looking to get his career back on track. Confirming this on Reddit, which may or may not have been the best thing to do, it was explained why this something the player utilised, saying:

“Memphis made the first laptop transfer by asking us for transfer advice with data.

“The agent asked us to visit Memphis in Manchester where he was living at that moment.

“I went there with two colleagues and we watched a Champions League game on his couch.

“In our discussion about the next step in his career, he was really open about what he wanted and didn’t want.

“He wanted to play ‘more freely’, he wanted to be ‘important for the team’ and wanted to play in a big five competition with a coach that had a clear playing style.

“We looked for instance at his playing style at PSV and the Dutch national team and compared that with the playing style of Manchester United.

“We noticed that he was involved with a lot more defensive actions at Manchester United.

“Regarding importance of the team, we looked for teams who didn’t have their star player on LW or LCF.

“For playing style, we investigated consistency, speed of passing and transition, use of flanks and defensive line, the height of the defenders.

“In the end, we wrote a report with five potential clubs that would suit his playing style and Lyon was one of them.

“Of course, it is up to the agent and the club to make a deal as our work ends there.”

Since signing for Lyon in January 2017, Memphis has made a total of 134 appearances for the club, scoring 53 goals and 43 assists. His goalscoring and assist rate is similar to what it was at PSV, despite playing ten more time in France, therefore helping the player restore his career to the same standards as it was before signing for United.

However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, Memphis could exit the French club this summer as they have failed to qualify for European football for the first time in 23 years. It was a shame the player did not quite make it at United, despite some great signs of him being the next best thing the season before he first played for the Old Trafford club.

It would be safe to say that United would not be interested in resigning the player, having moved on considerably from the club they were five years ago when the Dutchman signed for Louis van Gaal’s side. He has seemingly done a lot of work to find the right club for him, which does seem a brainy thing to do. Perhaps he will do the same again?

Manchester United ready to make move for Moussa Dembele after transfer value declines – reports

Manchester United will apparently step up their pursuit of Lyon striker Moussa Dembele, according to reports. It has been stated that it is though the player’s transfer value may have dropped because of the coronavirus pandemic which has swept the world, suspended world football with so far only the Bundesliga back in action ahead of its third weekend back.

The pandemic has had a high financial reaction on all businesses around the world with it to take its toll on football too, with United already losing £28 million which was announced recently. The longer supporters are kept away from stadiums will result in even more financial losses for clubs. This could be good for the transfer market.

In recent years, massive fees have been paid for players who have become mediocre with European players heavily inflated, even after one good season of football, costing many clubs money when the player does not fit into place and is then sold for a lesser fee or worse, released on the expiry of their contract.

Dembele has been a player who has been linked to the Old Trafford club a few times but more recently under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he has continued to be linked to the club. This would suggest that the Norwegian is interested in the player, which could culminate in the player being signed by the club, if the price is right.

United signed Odion Ighalo during the January transfer window on a six-month loan deal and would like to keep him for the remainder of the season, if Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua will allow him, seemingly with United only viewing him as a short-term option. This could reinforce the fact that Solskjaer has eyes for another striker.

It has been reported that the coronavirus pandemic could see Dembele available for around £45 million, which at this moment in time, would be a good result for both United and Lyon. The French club, on the cancellation of Ligue 1 back in April, meaning the club will miss out on European football, something United should still have.

Manchester United increasingly confident of signing French striker this summer – reports

Manchester United are reportedly increasingly confident of signing French striker Moussa Dembele this summer with a £60 million deal mooted, according to reports. It has been suggested that the Frenchman has made it clear that he would rather sign for United than Chelsea, who are also interested in bringing the player back to London.

The Old Trafford club are optimistic of signing the 23-year-old Ligue 1 striker has scored 22 goals and a further seven assists in 42 appearances for Lyon this season, playing in Ligue 1, the UEFA Champions League, the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue – playing a total of 3,309 minutes of football before the league was cancelled.

Last month, it was announced by the French Government that sporting events in the country were to be banned until at least September because of the coronavirus pandemic, this resulted in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 being cancelledsome players feel that this was too early a call to make, but it happened making Paris Saint-Germain the champions again.

The form of the Frenchman this season prompted Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to send scouts to watch him on three occasions this season, giving more weight in the fact that United seem to be pursuing the player to the point whereby they want to sign him. The 23-year-old was linked to United last summer with the departure of Romelu Lukaku.

Dembele was also high up Frank Lampard’s wish list for the summer with the Chelsea manager seeking to bolster his attacking options. The London club made a bid for the player during the January transfer window, which failed. However, the Lyon president, Jean-Michel Aulas, has admitted that he may be forced to cash in on the player this summer.

The club finished seventh in Ligue 1 this season, after the league being cancelled, which may force the club to take legal action as this was the first time the club had finished outside European competition places for the last 23 years and for this reason, the club could lose some of their prized assets, of which Dembele is one.

Dembele has knowledge of football in England, coming through the academy at Fulham and playing 64 times for the first team, scoring 19 goals and a further nine assists at the club. He was then sold to Celtic where he played 94 times for the Scottish club, scoring 51 goals and a8 assists at the club. He knows how to find the back of the net.

At Lyon, where he has spent the past two seasons, Dembele has played 88 times, scoring 42 goals and 13 assists at the club helping him catch the attention of United and Chelsea. Solskjaer seems to be a big admirer of the player and there is no doubt that the Frenchman would form a good attacking presence with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.

United will have a lot of work to do during the summer transfer window, whenever it opens as the 2019/20 season has not yet been concluded, although we could know more at the beginning of next week with this week being a big week for Project Restart, which is finding a way of completing the season, although it could still be cancelled yet.

Lyon striker would find it hard to turn down a move to Manchester United – reports

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solakjaer is reportedly lining up a transfer bid for France and Lyon striker Moussa Dembele, according to reports. The United manager will be seeking to improve his forward line, also stacking up on options after losing both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, at times, to injury during the 2019/20 season.

Dembele has made a total of 42 appearances for this club this season, before the coronavirus pandemic halted world football, subsequently cancelling the season in France with all sporting events being cancelled by the Government until later in the year. He has scored 22 goals in all competitions, also assisting seven further goals.

These are the sort of figures that Solskjaer would expect to see from a striker in his team. It would take some pressure off Martial and Rashford, also allow the likes of Mason Greenwood to grow in the team ready for what is expected to be a brilliant future for the player. Coming through the academy at Fulham, Dembele would be classed as home grown.

In the past, both Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea have held an interest in the French striker – neither club making a solid move for him, despite playing for Fulham already in his career. United are reportedly interested in quickly moving for the player because of the coronavirus pandemic with clubs around Europe likely to struggle financially.

United have suggested that their healthy finances could help them in the upcoming transfer window with Solskjaer seeking to sign players to help him complete his team ready for a new challenge. With French football being ended until at least September, Dembele, with English football likely to continue this season, would have more certainty.

Lyon finished the French season in seventh place, missing out on European football next season, which is something that United could find would be somewhat certain, even if the season does finish now for the Premier League teams, unless a different approach at ending the season was found. United are seemingly guaranteed UEFA Europa League football next season, although with Manchester City banned, UEFA Champions League football could be possible.

United signed Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua during the January transfer window, on a six-month loan spell. The 30-year-old Nigerian striker was said to be a top target for the summer, but a £400,000 a week contract extension from the Chinese club could cause problems as United would not be able to offer him anything similar.

The fact the coronavirus pandemic as happened, meaning United’s financial clout could get them what they want, could be a good thing for English football and United in particular. Dembele is one of the best rising stars in world football and could lead the line for United for the best part of a decade if he does move to the Old Trafford club.

United being in the Champions League next season would be a great bargaining position for United to lure Dembele to the Old Trafford club next season, so the resumption of the Premier League season would be a good thing for United, who finished in fifth place, three points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea after the season was suspended in March.

Lyon ‘name price’ for Moussa Dembele whilst the player is ‘determined’ to seal Manchester United transfer

Lyon forward Moussa Dembele has been the focus of a lot of attention for a while now and his club issued a hands off warning last month with interest resurfacing during the January transfer window. However, the club seem resigned to losing the player in the summer as long as their valuation of the player is met.

According to reports in the media, Lyon have slapped an £83 million price tag on their asset ahead of the summer transfer window. Manchester United and Chelsea both hold an interest in the player with Dembele being linked to United last summer as they sold Romelu Lukaku and with Chelsea seeking strengthening this coming summer.

Jean-Michel Aulas, the president of Lyon, spoke last week about the players the club has and that they will sell the players who want to leave to where they want to go, which sounds positive leaving the ball in the court of both United and Chelsea to convince the player to sign for them. Aulas said:

“We already have a certain number of offers for our players for summer. We sell the players who want to leave to where they want to go.”

It has been suggested that Chelsea had made an approach to sign Dembele during the January transfer window, although this has not been confirmed, rumours suggest that they were only prepared to offer £40 million for the Frenchman, which is clearly not enough to purchase him after this information about his price tag. Dembele recently said:

“I am a Lyon player and I will remain so until the end of the season.”

Manchester City, Newcastle United and West Ham United also seem interested in signing the 23-year-old this summer, although I am sure he would prefer to sign for United, City or Chelsea as opposed to the other two teams, one of which is currently in a relegation battle to remain in the Premier League. United is reportedly his preferred option.

United would need to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season, which would usually need them to finish in the top four of the Premier League, however, with City banned from the competition for two seasons, despite a pending appeal, finishing fifth would achieve that, as would winning the UEFA Europa League.

However, I am sure United would be seeking to finish inside the top four with them just three points adrift of Chelsea with 11 matches in the league still to be played this season, giving them the chance to break ahead of Frank Lampard’s side, who they have beaten three times this season; twice in the league and once in the Carabao Cup.

Dembele will be very familiar with England as he started his career at Fulham, leaving for Celtic then to Lyon. During this time, he has become a very good forward and one that many clubs could yet find interest in. Tottenham Hotspur will be in the market for a striker this summer after failing to sign one in January to cover Harry Kane’s injury.

This season, in 38 matches for Lyon, Dembele has scored 20 goals, assisted a further seven in 2,974 minutes of football. Whilst at Lyon, he has made a total of 84 appearances, scoring 40 goals and 13 assists. Whilst at Celtic, he made a total of 94 appearances, scoring 51 goals and 18 assists. At Fulham, in a first team environment, he made a total of 64 appearances, scoring 19 goals and nine assists.

Manchester United plotting to sign want away striker Moussa Dembele from Lyon in January – reports

Manchester United are reportedly planning to sign Lyon striker Moussa Dembele in January as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to rebuild his forward line, which has struggled with injury and an inability to bag the goals for the club. Marcus Rashford has failed to shine for the club in the striker’s role since Anthony Martial was injured.

During the summer transfer window, Romelu Lukaku was sold to Inter Milan and Alexis Sanchez was loaned to the club before the end of the summer. It was a gamble by Solskjaer, but instead of replacing the duo, he switched Martial from the left flank and made him the striker. Rashford and the Frenchman rotated in the position.

Daniel James, a £15 million signing from Swansea City in the summer, replaced the Frenchman on the left flank, so far scoring three goals – the clubs join top scorer this season, along with Rashford. Martial was injured in the third match of the season, the 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, missing the last eight matches.

United has struggled in each match, winning three matches (one on penalties), drawing three times and losing twice. It is clear that Solskjaer needs another striker in order to give the attack some different options as it is just not working out at this moment in time. This is just one of the many positions that need strengthening in January or the summer.

United have already been linked with Juventus striker, Mario Mandzukic, who is 33 at nearing the end of his career. The Croatian clearly does not fit United’s target of lowering the age of the squad therefore would not fit in the rebuild other than being considered as a panic buy. It also seems that the player may stay in Italy with AC Milan an option.

United has seemingly switched their attention to Dembele, after being linked with the player in the summer as a replacement for Lukaku but nothing ever seemed to develop in the situation. However, it is clear that something will need to develop in January in a bid to save the season, of which Solskjaer has been put under pressure by ‘fans’ and the media.

The former Celtic striker has made 10 appearances for Lyon this season, scoring six goals, which is a better return that any United player has achieved, although Martial may have done better if he was fit to play in the last eight matches. The Frenchman started his professional career at Fulham, signing from Paris Saint-Germain in 2012, doing well.

Spending three years in the first team at Fulham, Dembele played 64 times, scoring 19 goals, 17 of which were scored during the 2015/16 season, his final season at the club. He was sold to Celtic in the summer of 2016, playing 94 times and scoring 51 goals in three seasons on the Scottish Premiership before heading to Lyon.

Dembele is clearly a player on the rise and at the age of 23, has so much more to achieve in club football. Whether United can get a deal across the line is something that we will find out in January or beyond, however, it is suggested that the player is ready to leave Lyon, which should get the French club a good return on the £19.7 million spend on the player.

copyright: JW