What went wrong for Memphis Depay at Manchester United?

What went wrong for Memphis Depay at Manchester United?

Ahead of a highly anticipated move from PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2015, many rated young Dutch winger Memphis Depay as the 'next big thing'. After a nightmare spell at Old Trafford, just 18 months later, Manchester United were ready to sell him on to Olympique Lyon. But where did it go wrong for Memphis at United?


Upon arrival at Old Trafford, Memphis Depay was straight away labelled to be a 'Wonderkid' at Manchester United, comparisons to the likes of Eden Hazard and even Cristiano Ronaldo were made before the 20-year-old Dutchman had even kicked a ball in the Premier League, and yet just a year and a half later, he was sold for a margin of the price originally paid for him when he signed from PSV Eindhoven. Here are some of the reasons for the possible downfall of the Dutchman at United.

Pressure of the number 7 shirt

As soon as Memphis arrived at Old Trafford, he was straight away handed the iconic number 7 shirt, once worn by so many club legends before including Cristiano Ronaldo, which only fuelled the comparisons further between the two. It was rumoured at the time that Memphis had in fact asked for this shirt, clearly showing his confidence after destroying so many Eredivisie teams and being the main factor for PSV winning the title the year before, however possibly was unaware of the pressures and expectation coming from the Old Trafford faithful when carrying a shirt previously worn by so many big names. Was this pressure too much for such a young player?

Pace of the Premier League

A factor that affects many players coming from so called lesser leagues into the Premier League is the pace that the game is played at. When at PSV, Memphis had more time on the ball, playing against lesser players, with room to make small errors without them being evident. When coming to the Premier League, however, dealing with the pace and the high quality of fullbacks he was up against proved difficult and is the reason many people are giving for the downfall of the Winger.

Going into Ligue 1 will be back to a downgrade of pace similar the way football is played in the Eredivisie, meaning that Memphis could well be able to discover his form from his days at PSV.

The rise of Anthony Martial

At the time that Memphis signed for United, they were lacking in the wide position, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia becoming older and not suited for the winger position, as well as Angel Di Maria massively underperforming, it seemed like Memphis would be set to be a guaranteed starter in Louis van Gaal's United side. Later on in that transfer window, United opted to spend huge money on Anthony Martial, making him the most expensive teenager in history. It was originally thought that it would take Martial more time to settle in at Old Trafford. Martial setting the league alight from the off meant that Memphis had to take a back seat and was unable to grow and show his qualities as much as originally thought in the Premier League.

The introduction of Marcus Rashford into the United scene in February of the same season meant that Martial was forced out wide into Memphis' preferred position, meaning that the Dutchman was forced even further back in United's attacking ranking.

United fans, backroom staff and of course Memphis himself will be undoubtedly disappointed with the performances of the Dutchman, after being a player with so much potential to be an Old Trafford great. United do have a buy-back clause on the 22-year-old who has moved to Ligue 1, although triggering it seems unlikely at this stage. For the player, hopefully United are forced to do so.