This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
As quoted by the club’s official website, Lyon sporting director Juninho has confirmed Manchester United have first option on signing Memphis Depay.
The Netherlands international was formerly a Red Devil, joining Louis van Gaal’s Manchester side back in the summer of 2015 for a fee in the region of £31m.
After struggling to really light up Old Trafford – he managed just seven goals and six assists in 53 appearances across all competitions – the 25-year-old made the move to French side Lyon in January 2017.
With his current contract with the club expiring in 2021, Juninho has provided an update on Depay’s long-term future at the club, confirming that United will have the first option if transfer interest in him hots up.
He said (as translated by The Daily Mirror): “Manchester United has the priority if several clubs line up to buy him. But we have not received any offers so far. He is really happy right now in Lyon. Rudi (Garcia) will soon make his decision. He is a technical leader. We will discuss an extension of contract by the end of the year.”
He may have been an Old Trafford flop before, but Depay’s return to form with Lyon means that United simply cannot pass up on the opportunity to re-sign him if there is a bidding war. The Dutchman has played 130 times for the French giants, scoring 50 goals and providing a further 42 assists.
Reports in recent weeks and months have claimed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are intent on securing a striker in the upcoming January transfer window, with the likes of Mario Mandzukic and Callum Wilson thought to be high up on the shortlist. But whilst Depay has predominantly played from the left at Lyon, he has shown in his time up front that he can also be devastating there too.
He has 15 goals and seven assists in 38 games from the centre-forward role, and his underlying numbers means he could be the perfect Solskjaer signing. Pacy, direct and versatile – the kind of attacker who would fit seamlessly in with the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Daniel James. This season, Depay has averaged 3.9 shots, 1.9 key passes and 2.3 dribbles per game in Ligue 1.
It all means that if opportunity does knock, then United simply cannot hesitate to take up their first option on him.