Memphis Depay and Louis van Gaal worked together during the 2014 World Cup when the 63-year-old was Netherlands manager. It was a successful tournament for the Dutch as they comfortably defeated reigning champions Spain in their opening match and went on to reach the semi-finals. Depay only started one match but was used to great effect by Van Gaal who deployed him from the bench as the opposition began to tire. The winger played for just 173 minutes of the tournament but still managed to score two goals and get an assist. That is an excellent return, especially when you consider he was mostly used out of position at left wing-back. The fact Depay was willing to adapt to this position despite having more defensive responsibilities means he is willing to buy in to the philosophy of Van Gaal. There is already a respect between the two and Depay reportedly chose United over the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool in order to work with his former national team coach once again. Daley Blind and Robin van Persie were also key components of that Dutch side and will help Depay settle in at the club.
Depay’s record at PSV last season speaks for itself. He managed 22 league goals in 30 appearances, an incredible return for a left winger. Some fans understandably have reservations about the quality of the Dutch league but his Europa League tally was just as impressive as he scored five times in eight matches whilst playing against the likes of Panathinaikos, Dinamo Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg. Any sceptical United fans to remember their last signing from PSV, one Ruud van Nistelrooy, who managed 100 goals in his first three seasons in English football.
Some Dutch football experts have described Depay as the most exciting prospect since Arjen Robben whilst others believe him to be too arrogant. Arrogance doesn’t always have to be a negative trait in a footballer. When Cristiano Ronaldo arrived at Old Trafford, many English fans couldn’t understand his attitude. He, too, was described as cocky and arrogant. He was often greedy and would perform tricks under no pressure whilst berating referees for failing to award free-kicks. His unwavering belief in his own ability saw him eventually develop into a Ballon d’Or winner and he is now considered the best player in the world by many. Depay could be similarly frustrating in his first season at United but he has enough self-belief to become a long-term success at Old Trafford.
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