Manchester United have dragged their feet through Jadon Sancho transfer negotiations and, as a result, look set to miss out. The Borussia Dortmund star is simply too expensive for the club at the current moment in time. But Memphis Depay wouldn’t be, with the Netherlands international seemingly available for just £11.3million with Lyon eager to sell.
Manchester United believed they were onto a winner when they signed Depay from Lyon back in the summer transfer window of 2015.
Having secured a place in the Champions League, Louis van Gaal thought his compatriot would hold the ticket to bringing the Premier League title back to Old Trafford.
Things for Depay started well enough, with the Netherlands international scoring a sublime brace in a Champions League qualifying win over Club Brugge.
But, after that, things went south.
Depay found the net just seven times for United throughout his time in English football. By the end of the campaign he was surplus to requirements, missing out on a place in the squad for their FA Cup triumph over Crystal Palace at Wembley.
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Later, he’d admit that his relationship with Van Gaal wasn’t the best. Speaking a year ago, he said: “We didn’t fall out, it was just a misconnection with each other.
“As a team we didn’t play great football and some things I don’t understand – if you have talented young players, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw and the others, they need freedom.
“When I left, I said to Mourinho ‘you will see me at the top. He said: ‘OK, I hope that and I hope we will buy you back one day.’ I never had a bad relationship with him.
“If you don’t perform well some people want you to hide and be in your cave and I’m so not that type of person.
“If I look back, it was just me. I wanted to succeed so bad. I wanted to train so hard.
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“I don’t think it was the English media, because the media don’t determine how I play in the game. Sometimes my opportunities weren’t enough but I didn’t deliver what was expected, never mind what people expect, what I expect from myself. And Manchester is a great club. I don’t feel they treated me wrong.”
Depay has, however, rebuilt his career at Lyon.
He’s been sensational throughout his time in Ligue 1, scoring 58 goals from 141 appearances. He was vital last year as the club reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, scoring 15 goals from 22 matches across all competitions.
And, now, Lyon are preparing to cut him loose.
Ideally they’d like a fee close to £20m for their prized asset. Lyon need the money as a result of the coronavirus crisis and their eagerness to offload is nothing to do with his performances on the pitch.
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But, now, reports in France suggest they’re willing to accept a fee of around £11.3m to get him off the books.
Depay is their biggest earner, on wages close to £200,000-a-week. Those finances have been enough to put off Barcelona, whose interest in the forward has waned.
But, for United, he could be the ideal cut-price Sancho alternative.
The Red Devils would be wise to consider the idea. Depay has matured considerably since his time at Old Trafford and the club have first refusal on the Lyon star.
With Sancho elusive, they could certainly do a lot worse.
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