Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has backed Memphis Depay to come good at Manchester United, but also admitted he will be ready to make a transfer bid if life at Old Trafford turns sour.
The 21-year-old cost the Red Devils £31million to sign from PSV Eindhoven in the summer and, after winning the Eredivisie title and the league's golden boot, naturally arrived with great expectation on his shoulders.
But Depay has so far failed to shine under Louis van Gaal and was dropped for last Saturday's game against Everton. Having won that game in convincing fashion, the Netherlands international now faces a significant struggle to reclaim his place.
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In fact, the flying forward has drawn more attention for his outlandish off-field behaviour since arriving at Old Trafford. Several pundits have already claimed Depay's ego is starting to hinder his attempts to become a world-class performer.
Koeman disagrees with that opinion, instead choosing to back his compatriot in a recent interview with a Southampton fans' forum. The former Feyenoord boss even admitted that he tried and failed to bring him to the Premier League a year before United did.
Keeping the faith
He said: "It is true, we were interested in Memphis Depay last year but we heard from his management that he wanted to stay one more year in Holland and then take the opportunity to play for a foreign club.
"I think Memphis Depay, now at the moment, has a difficult time but that's normal because he is 21 and of course maybe the step to Manchester United in all aspects is a difficult one and he needs more time."
However, the Saints chief is aware that time may not be on Depay's side, especially since he is playing for a club that has frequently demanded instant success. If Van Gaal ever gives up on him, Koeman is ready to offer Depay a chance at redemption at St Mary's.
He continued: "If one day he will be on the market, I'm interested yes but I don't think so because I believe in that player.
"It is a difficult time but [he is] still young. He has to improve a lot and he will go through all these difficult moments."