Barcelona confirmed the signing of Memphis Depay on Saturday with the Netherlands forward set to be reunited with Ronald Koeman at Camp Nou after agreeing a two-year deal at the Liga giants on a free transfer.
The former PSV, Manchester United and Lyon forward will join a star-studded attack at Barcelona, featuring Leo Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé, Ansu Fati, Francisco Trincão and Martin Braithwaite, meaning the 27-year-old Dutch international will have to work hard to earn his place in the starting XI under his former national team coach. Depay joined PSV’s youth ranks in 2006 after moving from Sparta Rotterdam and made his debut for the senior side in September, 2011, in a KNVB Cup game. His full league debut came the following year in February 2012 when he made his Eredivisie bow in a victory over Feyenoord. A month later, he opened his account for the club during a substitute appearance against Heerenveen. In total, Depay made 124 appearances for PSV, scoring 50 goals and providing 29 assists. That was enough to excite the interest of clubs across Europe and in 2015 Manchester United paid €30m to acquire his services from the Eredivisie club. Handed the famous number seven shirt at Old Trafford – which had been vacated by Ángel di María – Depay’s two-year spell in the Premier League followed much the same path as his Argentinean predecessor, who left under a cloud after a single season. In his first season under Louis van Gaal Depay showed flashes of his ability and scored seven goals in 45 appearances across all competitions but when his compatriot left to be replaced by José Mourinho the forward’s career stalled horribly. With the Portuguese at the helm, Depay playing only eight times for Manchester United in 2016-17, with one start in the EFL Cup and only 20 minutes across the first half of the Premier League season. It was little surprise when the player and club decided to part ways halfway through the campaign. Like Di María, Depay’s career was resurrected in Ligue 1 after he moved to Lyon in January 2017 for a fee of around €20m. That has turned out to be quite the bargain as the forward went on to score 76 goals and provide 56 assists in 178 appearances for Lyon over four and a half seasons. Lyon reached the 2019-20 Champions League semi-finals – their first appearance at that stage of the competition in 10 years – knocking out Juventus and Manchester City with Depay scoring six times in eight games at a rate of a goal every 99 minutes. Overall, Depay scored at a rate of a goal every 174 minutes for Lyon. Depay has scored 27 goals in 66 Netherlands appearances and is widely regarded as the Oranje’s biggest hope for progression into the latter stages at Euro 2020. The forward found the net against Austria in the second round of matches in Group C and will be looking to add to his tally when the Netherlands take on North Macedonia on Monday in a bid to clinch top spot ahead of the last 16.