When Memphis Depay agreed a deal to leave his native Holland for Manchester United prior to the end of the 2014/15 season, fans of the club were especially excited. At the time, Depay had just won the Eredivisie league title with PSV Eindhoven, scoring 28 goals in 40 appearances in all competitions that season. He was rated as one of the top young attacking prospects in world football, capable with his dribbling, shooting and an expert at dead-ball situations.
It’s tough to pinpoint exactly where it all went wrong for the Dutchman in the 18 months since that transfer, but gone wrong, it most certainly has. The arrival of Anthony Martial from AS Monaco on deadline day of last season added a layer of competition on United’s left-hand side of attack that Depay never really dealt with. Sure, the Frenchman was United’s best outfield player last season, but Depay seemingly struggled all season long for fluency, confidence and was in and out of Louis van Gaal’s side frequently. His hopes of a change must have been piqued when Jose Mourinho took over from the former Bayern Munich manager, given that Van Gaal had lost so much faith in Depay by the end of last season that he didn’t even make the bench for United’s FA Cup final squad, but he has yet to make a single start for Mourinho’s United side.
News from the Daily Mail suggesting that Everton are interested in a loan deal for the former PSV forward should be welcomed, with that in mind. Toffees manager Ronald Koeman is interested in taking his compatriot over to Goodison Park during the January transfer window for the rest of the season in a move that all parties hope will revitalise the career of the £90,000 a week Dutchman.
The big problem that Depay faces is that his route to the first team is blocked by two younger players who have arguably proven themselves far better suited to life at United than he has been able to. Both Martial and Marcus Rashford took their chances during last season and announced themselves as exciting attacking prospects; they played well and scored goals with consistency, which isn’t something that can be said for Depay. As such, a loan move to a club that will guarantee him first team football is about as good as the 22-year old can hope for at this stage, as it appears that he has fallen too far down the pecking order at United to make an impact on the club this season.