The Hard Tackle takes a look at the key news stories surrounding Premier League giants Manchester United.
Manchester United will look to extend their unbeaten run on Saturday when they visit the Bet365 Stadium to take on Stoke City. Ahead of their away trip, here’s a roundup of everything happening in and around Old Trafford.
Memphis Depay Completes Lyon Move
Lyon completed the signing of Memphis Depay on Friday afternoon, bringing an end to a tough 18 months at Old Trafford for the Dutch winger. The club confirmed Depay’s signing in a statement, with the Netherlands international signing a four-and-a-half-year contract with the Ligue 1 club.
— Olympique Lyonnais (@OL) January 20, 2017
Lyon have shelled out an initial fee of €16 million for Depay that could rise to €25 million with bonuses, as confirmed by club president Jean-Michel Aulas at his unveiling. Manchester United, though, have a sell-on clause in the deal, with an additional option to buy Depay back for a fee of €35 million.
“It’s the start of a new era,” Aulas said. “It’s a significant operation. There is a fixed €16m payment to be made quickly and a €6m bonus for a league title, qualification for the Champions League and Europa League. There is also a €3m bonus if he signs a contract extension with us at any time.”
Manchester United acquired Depay for £25 million in the summer of 2015, after the Dutch forward impressed in PSV Eindhoven’s league winning campaign when he also ended as the Eredivisie’s top scorer. However, what followed were a turbulent 18 months when he failed to create any sort of impact for the Red Devils.
Mourinho Leaves The Door Open For A Possible Return
Meanwhile, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho left the door open for Depay to return to the club one day, while wishing the Dutchman well in his move to Lyon on Friday. Mourinho said that the club inserted the sell-on clause for the very reason that he has the potential to improve.
Good luck to @Memphis at his new club, Lyon.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 20, 2017
When quizzed on Manchester United’s reported sell-on clause in the deal during his pre-match press conference on Friday, Mourinho said: “Of course, because, potentially, he is a very good player. I think when Mr [Louis] van Gaal decided to buy him, he did well.”
“He didn’t succeed in this 18 months, I would say, but he is very young so I think it is important for the club to keep control of this talent. And we all wish that he plays very, very well at Olympique Lyon, and why not to come back because everyone here likes him.”
Depay struggled massively in his second season at Manchester United, as he managed to make just one start for the first team, in the EFL Cup win over Northampton Town earlier in the season in September.
Veron Regrets Moving From Manchester United To Chelsea
Former Manchester United midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron, meanwhile, has admitted that he regrets the decision to move from Manchester United to Chelsea in 2003. He also added that the decision was taken in haste, and he should have chosen to stay at Old Trafford instead.
Speaking to the FourFourTwo magazine, Veron said: “Looking back, I didn’t make the right choice. I should have stayed in Manchester. My wife left Manchester in tears. We were used to moving cities and I’d never seen her crying because of a move.
“I had talked to Ferguson and he had told me that he couldn’t guarantee my spot in the team; that I had to earn it. And it was logical. I didn’t think it through.”
Veron signed for Manchester United from Lazio in 2001 in a then British transfer record deal of £28.1 million. The Argentinian legend started his career as a Manchester United manager strongly, and had a few memorable moments, but as his form regressed he lost his place in Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
He was subsequently sold to Chelsea after his second season at Old Trafford in a £15 million deal, but things didn’t improve as he managed to make just 14 appearances for the Blues.
Romero A Boca Juniors Target
Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero is a summer transfer target for Boca Juniors, with the Argentine giants keen to lure him back to his homeland by offering a role as their first choice custodian, as per Sky Sports.
The 29-year-old goalkeeper made a name for himself back in Argentina with Racing Club, before making a move to Europe where he had impressive spells with AZ Alkmaar, Sampdoria and AS Monaco. He sealed a move to Manchester United last season in a free transfer, reuniting with Louis van Gaal.
However, he has had to grow accustomed to being back up to the Manchester United No. 1 David De Gea, restricted to starts in cup competitions alongside occasional appearances in the league when the Spaniard hasn’t been available.
This season Romero has made just five starts in the Europa League, EFL Cup and FA Cup, and there are chances that he could lose his place in the national side as a result of which he could look to move to Boca Juniors in the summer.
Rooney To Donate £1.2m Testimonial Profits To Charity
Finally, club captain Wayne Rooney will donate the entire £1.2 million profits that were earned from his testimonial match back in August to four children’s charities, his foundation has announced.
The Wayne Rooney Foundation revealed that all profits from the game would go towards its target of £5 million in donations to charities including the NSPCC.
Manchester United faced Everton prior to the start of the campaign in August in Wayne Rooney’s testimonial in a match that marked the club and national side captain’s 12 years with the Red Devils.
Rooney expressed his pleasure at the news and thanked fans, saying: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”