It would not be an understatement to say that Memphis Depay has struggled at Manchester United.
The Netherlands international arrived at Old Trafford in the summer expected to fill the void left by Angel di Maria’s departure to Paris Saint-Germain, yet despite starring in the Eredivisie, he is yet to hit top form for Louis van Gaal’s faltering outfit.
But, last Thursday night, he finally delivered. A goal, and a splendid performance to go with it. FC Midtjylland were blown away and Depay, whose struggles for consistency have been well-documented, may have had his Nani moment.
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The Dutchman was at his tenacious, magnificent best and helped force Nikolay Bodurov’s own goal that allowed the Red Devils back into the tie.
He scored in the first leg in Denmark yet scored an even better goal at Old Trafford, blasting the ball low and hard to top off a tremendously improved display and help lift the pressure continuously mounting on Van Gaal’s shoulders.
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The 22-year-old has blown hot and cold so far during his time in the game but, just like Nani six years previously, he could be set to finally realise his potential.
Nani had been set to leave United having failed to emerge from the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo, yet a sensational performance against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium convinced Sir Alex Ferguson he deserved a starting berth.
The Portuguese trickster then embarked on a run of form that transformed him into one of the best wingers in the Premier League, with a brace against Van Gaal’s Bayern Munich a particular highlight.
In the 2010/2011 season, he helped the club win the title with 10 goals and 10 assists, spearheading an attack also consisting of Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez to finally play a starring role.
However, his later months in Manchester were dark days, with David Moyes’ appointment coinciding with increasingly poor performances that would ultimately see him loaned to former club Sporting Lisbon.
Depay will hope that a string of fine performances can help convince the club that he can thrive at Old Trafford, and emulate Ronaldo in achieving hero status amongst the supporters.
Nani is proof that a player can recover from a difficult start to life at the top, and Van Gaal’s final parting gift could be the Dutchman reaching the peak of his powers once again.
Will this be the turning point for Memphis Depay? Leave your comment in the opinion box below?