Manchester United pip Liverpool to sign Memphis Depay

€33 million winger cites chance to work with Van Gaal again as key reason for his choice

Manchester United made the first big move in another expensive recruitment programme when they announced the signing of the Netherlands international Memphis Depay for a fee in the region of £25 million.

The winger is the first arrival in what promises to be another summer of lavish spending at Old Trafford and joins the extensive list of transfer targets Liverpool have been unable to persuade to move to Merseyside over the past few years.

Paris Saint-Germain were among the other clubs monitoring Depay's availability during a season in which he has established himself at the top of the Eredivisie scoring charts with 21 goals in 28 appearances. Only five other players – Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alexandre Lacazette, Sergio Agüero and Antoine Griezmann – have been more prolific in the top leagues this season.

“This move was just about feeling, not money,” Depay said. “It’s been an exciting and hectic period and to have had to choose between so many top clubs doesn’t make it any easier. Manchester United is an absolute dream club. I’m looking forward to playing alongside a few of my Dutch team-mates but the other players as well.”


Depay’s arrival provides more competition for the wide places and appears to extinguish any hope Nani might hold of re-establishing himself in Louis van Gaal’s thinking now his loan arrangement at Sporting Lisbon is coming to an end.

‘Big bonus’

Van Gaal worked with Depay when he was managing Holland, giving him his international debut, and the player mentioned that relationship when he was explaining why he preferred United to Liverpool. “I’ve learned so much at PSV, not only on the pitch but also as a person. That makes me grateful but I really felt it was time to move on. And working with manager Louis van Gaal again is also a big bonus.”

The transfer will be completed next month once Depay has had a medical and it will provide United with a quick, two-footed player who has scored 49 goals in 122 appearances for PSV and been influential in helping them win the Dutch league. However, there is a feeling in the Netherlands that for all his talent Depay is still at a stage of his career when he can be raw.

"Last season he made the step to be a senior player and not a junior player," Ronald Koeman, his former manager at PSV, said. "He still has to develop himself and it will be tough for him because the Premier League is really tough, physically and mentally. For him it is a great challenge to be a player of Manchester United." Guardian Service