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Expert view: Who is Memphis Depay & why do so many clubs want to sign him?

We speak to Dutch football writer Elko Born about the 21-year-old whose star is rapidly on the rise.

Image: Natacha Pisarenko

An edited version of this piece first appeared on 24 April.

MANCHESTER UNITED HAVE signed Memphis Depay today, PSV confirmed. 

Having burst onto the scene in 2013 (he made his debut in a cup game two years previous and scored twice though he was subsequently in and out of the side until Phillip Cocu took over as manager), he’s been a crucial component in PSV’s first title-winning season in seven years, scoring 20 league goals in 27 appearances and also tallying three assists.

Building on an excellent first term where he found the net 12 times in the Eredivise, Depay was also a bright spark as Louis van Gaal’s Dutch outfit reached the World Cup semi-finals last summer – the winger scoring twice in games against Australia and Chile.

Russia Soccer Europa League Source: Dmitry Lovetsky/AP/Press Association Images

The42 spoke to Dutch football expert Elko Born to find out more about the prodigious talent.

What makes him so special?

“Depay is a very talented young player. We have seen him perform very well in the Eredivisie, and scouts employed by some of Europe’s best clubs agree that he could reproduce this form in a bigger league.

This became clear during the World Cup as well: in just a handful of appearances, he made a fantastic impression. For this reason he was nominated as young player of the tournament, along with Rafael Varane (Real Madrid) and Paul Pogba (Juventus).”

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At 21, would he be able to deal with such a big move at such a young age?

“Depay is a hard worker, but the move from the Eredivisie to the Premier League will be a big step. As a young but talented player, he’ll have to adapt and develop.”

What Depay says:

“I’m an attacker and I can attack at speed. I’m always a threat with lots of movement. I think one of my strengths is my shot, scoring goals and giving assists.”"I’m a dream chaser. When I look in the mirror, I get motivated because I know I’m not yet where I want to be. I know where I want to go, and that is the top.”

What they say:

Robin van Persie (Holland and Manchester United striker):

What I like about Memphis is that he picks things up so quickly. What he is doing is very mature for his age. We do click well and I really love his beautiful style of play.”

Source: ScoutNationHD/YouTube

Phillip Cocu (former Holland international and current PSV coach):

Whether he can be as good as Arjen Robben? I think so. They are different players, but they are both fast and have a good shot. And both always have the urge to learn. But Memphis is only 21-years-old and only in a few years can real conclusions be drawn. We must, as a club, be proud because we have trained him. At some point, it becomes clear that he is ready for the next step. And yes, I think he’s going to leave PSV after this season.”

Ronald de Boer (former Holland and Ajax midfielder):

He is one of the biggest talents in Europe. He has skill compared to a young Cristiano Ronaldo. He Is very lively, technically unbelievable, very skilful, very fast, he has a great goalscoring record, he can shoot from every distance – he has everything. For me, he is without doubt one of the best talents we have.”

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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