With the news breaking on Thursday morning that Memphis Depay has agreed a deal to sign for Manchester United, many will be wondering just where he fits in at the club.
Capable of playing on the wings or as a striker, Louis Van Gaal must decide whether he would be best utilising his dribbling ability or his prowess in front of goal to get the best out of him, but there is one player that should perhaps be a little concerned about what the Dutchman’s arrival means.
Ashley Young has looked a different player this season. Though he has mostly been asked to fill in at left-back and left wing-back, at heart he is still an attacking winger.
Young’s form has seen reports (via the Independent) emerge that he is in line to receive a new and improved deal to stay at Old Trafford, but he should consider the consequences about committing himself further.
Depay is, essentially, the player Young used to be at Aston Villa. Exciting, tricky, unafraid to take players on and blessed with an ability to create half a yard to pop a shot off with the flick of a boot. This is something he’s never quite managed to do on a regular basis at United – even having returned to something of his best form this season.
It would be silly to assume that Young will continue in a more defensive role next season – United didn’t spend big on Luke Shaw for nothing last summer – meaning that should he commit for a longer stretch, he may have to be satisfied with being a back up.
However, Depay is also an accomplished finisher in front of goal. Having bagged 14 goals last season, he’s improved his outlay this time around by banging in 27 across all competitions. Granted, most of these strikes have come when he’s been able to cut in from the wing, but with United’s strikers misfiring so badly this term, he wouldn’t be the worst option.
So Depay can fill a multitude of roles, but it will likely be at the expense of somebody else, and the deal will surely mean the end of the speculation (via the Daily Mail) linking them with a move for Real Madrid star Gareth Bale. Especially when Depay can do this…