The Dutch sensation was being hailed as the next Cristiano Ronaldo after being handed the legendary number 7 shirt. However, his career at Manchester United looks like it may end with a whimper.
Memphis Depay has been less than sensational for the Red Devils despite all the hype surrounding his arrival from the Dutch league. Former manager Louis van Gaal brought his compatriot to Old Trafford from PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2015 for a reported £25 million.
The Dutchman was fresh off finishing his last season with PSV as champion and the league’s top scorer. However, the 22-year-old only scored seven goals in 45 appearances for United in his debut season, with most of them coming against weak opposition like Club Brugge and FC Midtjylland.
New manager Jose Mourinho is unlikely to give Depay too many chances to make up for that record this season. In fact, he has recently been left out of the Man United squad to face Fenerbahce in the Europa League despite being match fit.
This is a clear sign that his days at United are numbered, as he may either be sold off or sent out on loan very soon. TheHardTackle considers three possible destinations for the winger:
1. AC Milan
The fallen giants of Italy are steadily climbing back to their previous heights under charismatic new manager Vincenzo Montella. The protracted Chinese takeover has been completed and the Rossoneri will be looking to invest in some top talent in the coming months.
Milan have been linked with a move for Depay in January. The Serie A club reportedly want to bring in the Dutch winger on a loan deal with the option to buy. They are willing to pay up to £24 million for Depay, and this would help Man United recoup almost the entire amount they spent on him.
The Dutchman would also be interested in a move to this historic club, and he will surely get more game time than he is currently getting at United.
2. VfL Wolfsburg
The Bundesliga could also be an interesting option for Memphis Depay, with Wolfsburg reportedly keen on signing the winger in January. However, the German club would probably be unwilling to match the transfer fee Man United paid to sign him.
Die Wolves may fund a move for Depay from the transfer fee they receive for unsettled German midfielder Julian Draxler. If they don’t sell Draxler though, a loan deal seems to be the likeliest arrangement.
The Dutchman would surely benefit from the rigours of the Bundesliga and would enjoy playing in an important first team role. Apart from Julian Draxler and Ricardo Rodriguez, Die Wolves’ squad does not boast many big names and Depay would surely take his place as one of the club’s star players.
Wolfsburg would look to get the best out of the highly rated attacker, with the hope that the Premier League import does not turn out to be another Nicklas Bendtner.
3. AS Roma
The Romans may compete with their Serie A rivals in the chase for Depay. Roma are reportedly weighing up a January move for the 22-year-old. Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah will miss a month of action in winter because of the African Cup of Nations, and Depay is seen as a possible replacement.
Sporting director Ricky Massara reportedly wants to sign Depay on loan in the January transfer window, with an option of making the deal permanent in the summer. Man United will look to recoup most of their transfer fee in that case, and the financially strong Romans would be happy to oblige.
The Serie A giants would be an interesting option for the young Dutchman. He will get to work with one of the living legends of football in Francesco Totti, as well as with another highly rate talent who has fallen by the wayside in Stephan El Shaarawy.