Manchester United spent £25 million to bring Dutch forward Memphis Depay to the club from PSV Eindhoven in the summer transfer window.
Despite him being one of European football’s hottest young prospects, many fans would agree that we haven’t truly seen the best of Memphis yet this season.
The Holland international was dropped to the United bench, for the first time since he moved to the club, for Saturday’s impressive 3-0 win at Everton.
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Ahead of the Old Trafford club's crucial Champions League match at CSKA Moscow this midweek, this article explains what Memphis has done right thus far and also suggests what he needs to improve on in order to start making a regular impact for Manchester United.
GOOD EUROPEAN PERFORMANCES
The 21-year-old’s form throughout United’s Champions League campaign has been fabulous and he looks much more of a threat in Europe’s premier club competition.
In Man United’s most important match in many a year, Depay was the match winner against Club Brugge at Old Trafford by scoring two wonderful individual goals and providing an assist for Marouane Fellaini.
He also bagged a goal on his return to former club PSV and he’s been one of United’s best performers in their return to European competition. He’s proven that he can score from long range, beat opposition defenders at ease with pace and trickery, and produce match-winning displays in a United shirt.
POOR PREMIER LEAGUE FORM
Memphis has provided Man United supporters with glimpses of the natural ability that he possesses, but overall he has struggled for consistency in the Premier League. The youngster’s abject and inconsistent performances in recent games have forced Louis van Gaal to substitute him off at half-time on more than one occasion.
Especially in United’s matches against Liverpool and Arsenal, the Dutch forward showed a surprising lack of quality. His decision making and final pass was poor and his efforts in the final third have been way below par, whether he’s shooting himself or trying to set up a teammate.
IS HE OVER-CONFIDENT?
From his very first press conference as a Manchester United player Memphis made it aware to everyone that despite being a young player he was very confident in his footballing abilities. This confidence was evidenced when Depay asked for United’s famous number seven shirt ahead of the new Premier League season.
Many legends of the game have worn the jersey - including David Beckham, Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo - so Depay immediately put himself under added pressure by making that request. United fans will be desperately hoping that Depay’s season doesn’t mirror the poor level of success that Angel di Maria had last campaign.
His recent performances have left some fans pondering whether Memphis is as good as he thinks he is, and he’s been criticised by some for being too self-confident.
NATIONAL TEAM INFLUENCE
Away from Old Trafford Memphis will have been mentally affected by his country’s miserable qualifying campaign and their failure to secure a place at next summer’s European Championships.
He was even reportedly involved in a training ground bust-up with the Dutch's all-time record goalscorer and former United striker Robin van Persie.
Despite his price-tag and his growing reputation in the game, critics of Memphis mustn’t forget that he is only 21 years of age and was named by France Football as 2015 “Best Young Player” in the world.
His season to date has been average at best, but doubters should not question his technical quality and his potential to become a world-class talent.
Every player is different, but other summer signings like Kevin de Bruyne, Dimitri Payet and Andre Ayew have all hit the ground running in the Premier League.
Memphis clearly needs time to adapt to the nature of English football, but how much time will he be given?
If Depay can find a way to translate his form in European competition to his domestic matches then English football will begin to see the best of what is a special talent.
Will Memphis Depay become a success at Manchester United? Have your say in the comments section below!