After a turgid start to the season, things seem to looking up at Old Trafford. Though still well away from the leading pack, manager Jose Mourinho has dragged Manchester United back onto the tracks, undefeated in their last three games, with seven points from nine.
Though it is a team that is starting to tick, with just two months until the January transfer window opens, Manchester United are still in dire need of reinforcements to compete with the rest of the Premier League’s elite.
And making a move for a former player who still obviously retains a substantial amount of affection for the club he plied his trade at for 18 months could be a viable option.
Memphis Depay may have gone a considerable way to revitalising his career at Olympique Lyonnais after a Manchester United malaise, but things aren’t completely rosy with the Dutchman with Les Gones.
A former recipient of the Johan Cruyff Trophy during his time at PSV Eindhoven, Depay has had a most successful calendar year with Lyon; his startling rise to form in 2018 enabling the seven-time Ligue 1 champions to qualify for the Champions League for the current season.
However this past game-week, the 24-year-old winger was surprisingly left out of the starting XI by Lyon manager Bruno Génésio for their league match against Angers SCO and Depay displayed his frustration by remaining on the team coach while his teammates entered the Stade Raymond Kopa. He then proceeded to sit on a matchball while the rest of the squad warmed up.
In a frustrating game in which Angers were by far the better side in the first half, Memphis Depay’s impact upon coming on 10 minutes after the interval was without question.
Depay replaced midfielder Jordan Ferri, the deadlock between the two sides having not yet been broken.
Just eight minutes later, he set up Hossem Aouar for the opening goal and then in the 87th minute scored himself for Lyon to take all three points back to the Groupama.
In his post-match comments however, Depay underplayed his role with a clear hint of resentment at his recent treatment and the way he believed he’s perceived.
"I'm sick of hearing every time that I changed the match,"
ESPN reports Depay said,
"I still don't feel like a respected player.
"I get the job done every time, I'm mentally strong. I have to accept the coach's decisions. I'm a little disappointed, I think I deserve more respect. I deserve better than that and I should play every game.”
His performance against Les Scoïstes means that the Depay has taken his tally up to 14 goals in 28 Ligue 1 games in 2018, as well as providing 11 assists.
He ranks as the sixth decisive passer in the calendar year in any of Europe’s top five leagues and has been in involved in more goals in 2018 than any other Ligue 1 player aside from Olympique de Marseille’s Florian Thauvin.
Now it seems that Depay’s is itching for a move away, and it could well be within the realms of plausibility that it is former club Manchester United that his future destination lies.
Upon his recent return to Manchester in Lyon’s fantastic Champions League win over Premier League title holders Manchester City, Depay re-endeared himself to the Red Devils with certifying that Manchester remains red with a series of social media posts, and it’s clear that although his previous spell was unsuccessful that the club still holds sway.
At 24-years-old, the player is still very young and could compliment this United side well with his purported peak years still ahead of him. Whilst his time at United was marred with accusations of style over substance, extracurricularly parading as a footballer whilst failing to replicate it on the pitch, at Lyon however Memphis has reasserted his ability to be fundamental game-changer.
In his favoured position, Anthony Martial is currently in stunning form for United with four goals in his last three games, but with misfit Alexis Sanchez being linked with a move away already in January, coupled with Depay’s versatility in playing on either wing, Depay’s ability to slot into the squad should appeal.
Furthermore, United sensibly inserted a buy-back clause when Mourinho sanctioned the sale of Depay to Lyon in January 2017. The current stipulation is unknown.
Marcus Rashford - who is suffering in the midst of a relative drought at the moment - is currently deployed on the right. The 20-year-old has started the last three games, providing excellent movement in an improving front-line, but has registered just a single goal and an assist so far this season in ten appearances overall.
With more and more calls for misfiring Romelu Lukaku to be dropped for a more dynamic, quick-paced front-line it may be a case for United to swallow their pride and take full advantage of Depay’s apparent discontent in France.
Memphis Depay comes on in the 55th minute.
Memphis Depay assists.
Memphis Depay scores.
Lyon win the game. 👉🏽👨🏽👈🏽