If you’ve never heard of PSV and Netherlands forward Memphis Depay, you’ve clearly been neglecting the transfer gossip columns of late.
The 15-cap 21-year-old is strongly fancied for a summer move to the Premier League, with former national team gaffer Louis van Gaal thought to be readying a Manchester United move for his ex-charge, while Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs monitor developments.
However, the hit-and-miss nature of the Eredivisie, which PSV won for the first time since 2007/08 over the weekend, will give many football watchers cause to pause before proclaiming Depay a top talent.
For every Ruud van Nistlerooy, Robin van Persie or Wilfried Bony, who boast combined Premier League figures of a goal every other game, there’s at least one Mateja Kezman, Afonso Alves or Jozy Altidore, who managed one top-flight strike in ten between them during spells in England.
The graphic below ought to allay such fears:
Depay’s Eredivisie numbers this term are impressive because of their variety; he has scored one more goal than fellow PSV forward Luuk de Jong, despite his teammate operating in the sole centre-forward spot in Phillip Cocu’s 4-3-3 formation.
The youngster tends to play wide left, where he has made more dribbles than every other player in the Dutch top flight this term bar Twente’s Jesus Manuel Corona, the joint ninth-most key passes per game, and makes the division’s top 20 for crosses per game.
Depay’s 2.7 dribbles per Eredivisie fixture isn’t far off Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling’s 3.1 in the Premier League this term, and the Oranje flyer has fired in almost twice as many shots on target as his English counterpart, who many value at upwards of £50m.
With that in mind, the reported fee of £25m for Depay’s services will seem like peanuts if he produces anything close to his 2014/15 form in the Premier League next term.
Furthermore, having been under Van Gaal’s watchful eye last summer in Brazil, where Depay became his country’s youngest ever World Cup scorer, any move by the Red Devils would signify a huge vote of confidence.
United are 4/5 with bwin to sign him before the close of the summer transfer window, but they clearly face stiff competition, with Liverpool priced up at 3/1, FC Bayern Munchen 10/1 and Paris Saint-Germain at 14/1, while both Juventus and Arsenal are 20/1.