Manchester United: Memphis Depay wasting his first season

Credit: The Huffington Post
Credit: The Huffington Post /

Memphis has been one of many disappointments this season for United

Manchester United man Memphis Depay is struggling in his first season, with the manager at some fault for his troubles in the Premier League.

The Red Devils 2-1 defeat at Sunderland showed that the team hasn’t really improved despite recent positive results. Similarly, the under-preforming Memphis Depay took the field as a sub and showed that the young Dutchman’s first season in the Premier League has been a waste so far.

United fans were excited when he decided to leave PSV for Manchester last summer as he was seen as the next Cristiano Ronaldo. The style of play and thunderous shot were so familiar for fans and the club that he was rewarded with the highly regarded number seven shirt. He hasn’t come close to living up to the number, like Angel Di Maria and Antonio Valenica did in the past, and is in danger of falling out with the United faithful.

Louis van Gaal should have sent the struggling youngster on loan, in my opinion, during the winter transfer window so he could regain some confidence and form. He hasn’t started since the Boxing Day defeat to Stoke and has looked a shell of himself from a season ago when he won the golden boot. It would be somewhat embarrassing to go from Manchester United number seven to on loan but it would be better than disgracing the number even more than it already has been.

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Ideally, Depay would have gone on loan in Italy or France where the level of play is above the Dutch league but isn’t the quality of England. I would have even welcomed a loan in the Championship so he could be tracked closely and watched with United eyes on a regular basis. He has the potential to be world class but so far he hasn’t achieved anything near that, even if his fleet of cars says other wise.

United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy said back in December that, “To make a difference at United, it means being really brilliant and being decisive in big games. He is not yet ready for that quite yet.” It’s hard to hear that from someone as influential as van Nistelrooy but the truth hurts, and Depay needs a shot of it. I was beyond excited when I saw United secured his signature but I’ve also been one of his biggest critics (I don’t blame him for the Chelsea loss though). He clearly needed the time to adapt to the Premier League but maybe putting him through the fire wasn’t the best approach.

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He has shown glimpses of why Manchester United spent the money on him but it has come against opponents that aren’t of the highest quality. We know he has the skills to excel in leagues that are like the one in Holland and to perform well against the lesser known and smaller teams in the Champions League, even scoring against his old club, but when it comes to the Premier League it’s a totally different story. He has had some decent performances but overall it’s been frustrating and questions are being asked of why the club bought him. One could argue it was to beat the other clubs to him but maybe United swooped too soon.

The upcoming Europa League might be where Depay silences his critics and puts in solid performances. Wayne Rooney told reporters after the Sunderland loss that winning it might be the only way United qualifies for Champions League next season and being a key player in the hunt will help Depay’s credibility with fans. The types of teams in the tournament aren’t teams you’d find in the Premier League and that’s exactly what he needs right now.

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The season is beginning to wind down and the summer transfer axe will be in full swing. Depay won’t be subject to it as he is young and is only in his first season but if summer 2017 comes around and he has another season like this, don’t be surprised if you see him wearing a Southampton shirt.