This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
As is always the case when you let players go, you’re left desperately hoping they don’t end up making you regret your decision. Get it wrong, and it’s a major howler, and an unforgivable action according to the fans. And in Manchester United’s case, that’s exactly the issue they have with Memphis Depay.
The former PSV starlet joined the Red Devils back in 2015 for a fee in the region of £31m, but failed to really shine at Old Trafford. The Dutchman registered just seven goals and six assists in 53 games for the club, and never looked like establishing himself as a first-team star.
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Fast forward a few years later however, and his January 2017 move to Lyon has brought him rich rewards. The forward is thriving as the talisman of the French team, and has started the current campaign on fire with six goals in ten games. And after his performance for the Netherlands in their EURO 2020 qualifying match against Northern Ireland, United will surely be regretting their decision to let him go.
As part of the deal to take Depay to Lyon, United agreed upon a buy-back clause that they have yet to exercise. And after seeing the Red Devils’ major struggles in front of goal this season – they have scored just nine times in eight Premier League games – they really could do with someone like the Dutch winger.
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Against Northern Ireland on Thursday night, the 25-year-old delivered a hugely impressive display as his side came from behind late on to secure a 3-1 victory. The former United ace struck twice in the closing stages of the clash, first to equalise, and then to round off the comeback. But apart from his brace, the attacker also contributed hugely in other areas and ended up with a 9.2 match rating courtesy of Sofascore.
A lack of creativity has been a source of frustration at Old Trafford, but Depay showed he would be more than capable of rectifying that. His two successful dribbles proved his directness, whilst his two key passes and two big chances created under-lined his ability to link up with his teammates.
The fact Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side haven’t bought him back yet is questionable to say the least. And after his stellar international display, it really does look even more ridiculous.