Manchester United target Memphis Depay has the potential to become the Netherlands best player, according to Oranje manager Guus Hiddink.
The Old Trafford club were linked with a summer swoop for the 20-year-old winger and Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur were also credited with an interest.
Depay was a regular starter at the World Cup under former Holland boss Louis van Gaal, so the Dutchman taking over at Manchester United likely had something to do with reports linking them with a move.
Transfer hopes fail
However, both Spurs and United’s hopes of signing him were dashed in the summer transfer window as he agreed to extend his contract with current club PSV Eindhoven to 2018.
Depay’s reputation as been growing steadily over the last year or so and the interest of the Premier League pair sounds as though it is understandable, because Hiddink has been waxing lyrical about the youngster.
The former Chelsea manager believes the player’s potential is so great that he could eventually become the talisman for the Netherlands and their most talented player.
"Depay has the potential to become Netherlands' best player," Hiddink told NOS.
"I've noticed that he has even more potential than I first thought now that I'm working with him.
"He still has plenty of room for improvement. I first thought that it was hard to approach him, but I was wrong. He is incredibly interested and keen to learn.”
Netherlands get their Euro 2016 qualification campaign underway on Tuesday evening and face a trough away trip to Czech Republic in what is expected to be the match up between the two best teams in Group A.
United spend big
It would have not been a huge surprise had Manchester United decided to sign Depay in the summer, as they went on a huge shopping spree, splashing out the best part of £150million on new players.
Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao were the two most high-profile signings, but the Old Trafford club also spent significant sums on Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind.
Meanwhile, Spurs’ new manager, Mauricio Pochettino, struggled to add much to his squad this summer and the new attackers that he needed failed to come in.
Added to this was the fact that wingers Andros Townsend and Aaron Lennon were both put up for sale by the White Hart Lane club, but no deals could be agreed for their exit before the transfer deadline passed.