Memphis Depay has plenty of talent but he’s not Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, says Louis Van Gaal, who is not certain that the Barcelona target would adapt to life at Camp Nou. Depay has managed to rebuild his damaged reputation at the highest level since leaving Manchester United to join Lyon in the summer of 2017.
The Red Devils forked out £31 million (€34m/$40m) to bring the Netherlands international to Old Trafford from PSV two years prior, but he only managed to score seven goals in 53 appearances for the club and failed to nail down a regular spot in the starting XI.
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Depay’s goals helped Rudi Garcia’s men reach the semi-finals of Europe’s elite competition last season and he is now being sounded out for a potential switch to La Liga. The former United winger confirmed that Barca have registered their interest in his services after the Netherlands were beaten 1-0 by Italy in the UEFA Nations League on Monday.
Garcia and Lyon sporting director Juninho has insisted that no formal offers have been submitted as of yet, but the latter has also admitted a prized asset could be sold if a suitable bid is forthcoming before the transfer window closes.
Van Gaal, the man who lured Depay to Manchester back in 2015, has questioned whether the Dutchman is ready to step up to another level at Barca, having seen him struggle to live up to expectations at the Theatre of Dreams.
The ex-United and Netherlands head coach told TuttoMercatoWeb: “There’s always a question mark. Depay is an interesting player, especially when he’s free to play, but we have to consider adapting to a new culture and a new team, and the first year is always the hardest. Look at [Matthijs] De Ligt or Frenkie de Jong.
“Depay has talent, but he’s not Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. “Van Gaal went on to discuss Ronald Koeman’s recent appointment as Barca’s new head coach, expressing his belief that a fellow countryman is taking on a difficult job given the ongoing speculation surrounding Messi’s future at Camp Nou.
The 69-year-old added: “I think he is a good coach, a former Barcelona player and this gives him more credit. It won’t be easy because you can never know about the Messi problem.”