Thursday, March 30, 2023

Manchester United Attacker’s Future is Unclear: Does He Deserve Another Chance?

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Aakarsh Bommakanti
Was diving around lush green grass not so long ago but my keyboard is all I have now. An avid observer of detail in sports with a passion to make myself heard. Can find me playing on a field if not in front of my screen.

Manchester United is one of the many clubs in the Premier League known for ending the careers of many a star players in its time (not their fault though). There were a number of star players who made a move to Old Trafford only to find out that they do not fit there and one such player who is now feeling the heat at the club is Dutch international Memphis Depay.

The former PSV winger moved to Manchester United a season ago under then manager Louis van Gaal and made a decent impression in his first few outings. However, he was not able to keep up his form and subsequently lost his place in the squad late in the season, giving himself no chance to prove to the world that he belongs at the highest stage.

He would have hoped that a change in management can get him back to the first team, but Jose Mourinho, the new manager at the club, has completely shunted the winger out of his plans. Depay is yet to start a game for the club in the league and was used as a substitute in the first group stage game of the Europa League against Feyenoord a couple of weeks ago.

He was not able to put in the kind of a performance that would have caught the manager’s eye and that has seen him fall completely out of favor at the club. This has seen the likes of AC Milan plot a move for him as soon as in January.

Feyenoord v Manchester United FC - UEFA Europa League

Moving to Manchester United from a different league in Europe is always a hard task. Depay moved to England from the Dutch league having scored 28 goals in 40 games for PSV. However, he has not been able to adjust to the game in England and is yet to reach double figures after 45 games. But the biggest worry for the manager will be the lack of contribution by the winger in the final third.

Depay is one of the most gifted players and is hard to mark on one on one situations. He is a quick, agile player who has some mind numbing skills to add to his game but he has not been able to find enough confidence to express himself. Anthony Martial looked to have cemented a place on the left side of that attack but even he wasn’t immune to bad form and sees himself as a bit part player as of now. Mourinho, as a manager, is not known to make too many changes to a team which will leave Depay with even less playing time.

At 22, he is still one of the most exciting players in Europe but his lack of form and game time has now seen him dropped out of the Netherlands national squad for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. He may not be match fit due to lack of playing opportunities at Old Trafford so his snub at the national level is understandable. But if he decides to stay at the club, he may not be able to get back to full form and may waste a career that has promised some great things.

Mourinho has not looked like he favours the 22-year old this season and reports have suggested that the manager is ready to recoup the £25m the club spent on him a couple of years ago.

So a move away from the club, with European giants calling, might be the right decision for both the parties. But if Mourinho wants some depth in his squad, especially with the Europa league to keep them busy, it might be a tough decision to let go of him in January.

Depay always had the talent, but he needs the right sort of chiselling to bring out the best in him. Selling him so early might not be the best for the club, but personally for the player, it might be a good move.

Do you think Memphis Depay should leave Manchester United and move to AC Milan in January?

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