Louis Van Gaal has done his transfer business faster than Messi’s drop of the shoulder that put Jerome Boateng on the floor. With the window nowhere near opening, the United boss has made his move, securing his priority target in the process.
Memphis Depay, being a Dutch international and given his debut under Van Gaal, has been linked with a move to Old Trafford ever since LVG took over. Now it seems they will be reunited once again, with PSV confirming that a fee has been agreed. Subject to a medical, the Eredivise's top scorer will be turning out in the famous red of United for the 2015/16 season.
Depay has attracted a lot of interest, the perpetual pursuit by Man United has been well documented, but the likes of Liverpool had also been tipped to make a move for this phenomenal youngster.
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At just 21 years old and in only his third season in the first team, Depay’s rise to prominence has been nothing short of spectacular. This year he was the Dutch league’s top scorer, scoring 21 goals, a key component in helping the team secure their first league title since 2008.
His ability to strike the ball from distance is his hallmark attribute. Scoring stunning goals week in, week out, he was always likely to stir up a whirlwind of interest.
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Either from a dead ball situation, or in open play, Depay has proven that even from a wide position he can be prolific, the sort of threat Van Gaal’s team have been so desperate for this season.
Avid viewers of the 2014 World Cup will remember Depay scoring the winner against Australia in his trademark style. This goal and overall performance sparked immediate interest and with the youngster adding another to his tournament tally later on, as well as a nomination for best young player at the competition, it wasn’t just initial prospectors Tottenham keeping their eye on this mercurial talent.
But with PSV confirming the deal, all the excitement surrounding his future has come to an anti-climatic end. We all knew a move to United was most likely, but by tying up the deal now, Van Gaal has removed the possibility of any battle for his signature developing. Despite this ruining the summer for many deadline day fanatics, Van Gaal business is both shrewd and intelligent.
Why should he wait for more clubs to clock on to Depay’s potential? Current Dutch boss Guus Hiddink commented on Depay’s potential and how he underestimated the Old Trafford-bound winger, the 21 year old’s stock was only going to rise.
"I've noticed that he has even more potential than I first thought now that I'm working with him," he said.
Doing the business in such an efficient matter prevents United from having to fork out another £60 million for a winger and also allows them to start planning for next season.
The transfer window may not be officially open, but it seems this doesn’t stop you from buying players. This in itself begs the question, why don’t more managers do it? Obviously those that are still locked in intense battles for the title, relegation or promotion have more important things to worry about. But for those whose last few games are very much of the ‘lame duck’ variety, why not get ahead of your competition and make an early move?
Already securing the signature of such a promising young talent, or should I say, given his performances this season, talent *full-stop* means Van Gaal has avoided any bidding wars in the summer, catching prospective investors off-guard whilst also allowing him the opportunity to plan well in advance.
All too often teams have fallen by the wayside before the campaign has even started. The famous Arsenal exodus followed by Arsene Wenger’s infamous deadline day ‘panic’ buys in 2011 were often earmarked as the reason for their failure. Man United’s early capture of Depay has already set next season’s wheels in motion, avoiding the sort of problems that plagued their eternal rival’s slow start that year.
Completing business early sews the seeds of success, culminating in feelings of hope and promise surrounding the approaching season and avoiding an air of frustration and pessimism emerging. Both of which are so often poisonous to a club’s ambitions, and more importantly their performance.
Louis Van Gaal has earned his critics this year, and Manchester United’s could well be seen as a failure in more ways than one. However, he should be applauded for this move and many managers could learn something from it. It is a move that oozes efficiency and focus, and most importantly progress. And should they want to enjoy a better time of the Premier League next year, they will need these three things in abundance.