Since his £25million move to Manchester United in the summer, Memphis Depay has featured mainly from the bench, drawing attention for his lazy style of play and his inability to produce goals and assists.
“We have a lot of quality, we just have to find our way. The team has all the quality to win the title. All the trophies are possible,” he said when he first signed. How wrong he was.
United are facing an uphill struggle to even qualify for the Europa League and the Premier League title is seemingly out of the question.
But in Memphis, the club have found another truly frustrating talent.
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Van Gaal continues to stand by the young Dutchman, despite his apparent lack of interest and commitment, whereas he didn’t hesitate in banishing experienced goalkeeper Victor Valdes to the reserves when the two fell out.
The Old Trafford chief’s ego fails to accept the failure of the player with so much expectation upon his shoulders. He almost considers Memphis’ struggle as a personal battle, failing to acknowledge his unmitigated demise on the pitch since his move from PSV Eindhoven.
That causes him to be involved when he doesn’t even deserve a place on the bench, something that surely displeases his team-mates at the club.
Memphis’s behaviour off the field also leaves a lot to be desired. Whether it’s his parking of a £100,000 Rolls Royce in a parent bay at a supermarket, or jetting home to party only hours after his sides’ humiliating defeat to relegation-threatened Sunderland, Memphis doesn’t seem to understand the need to stay quiet when you’re not performing.
It’s almost acceptable to be openly arrogant when you’re performing at the same level as Cristiano Ronaldo consistently every week. But not when you’re scraping minutes off the bench in an attempt to justify multi-million pound wages.
What has surprised many is Memphis’ acceptance of the situation. He says he is happy acting as a substitute if it is helps the side but that is a long way away from the attitude of a top professional. By all means do what you can to help your team win, but do it with your name at the top of the team sheet.
Van Gaal’s men have endured a wholly frustrating season and signings like Memphis have done little to ease the pressure on the manager.
Whereas the Dutch coach has repeatedly come under-fire from the press and Manchester United fans, the likes of Memphis have been able to slither under the radar, widely avoiding any open criticism.
If the 22-year-old was playing to anywhere near his actual capabilities, United could be further up the table and competing where they should be: for titles and Champions League places.
So, Memphis, what exactly did you mean when you said upon your arrival in Manchester, ‘I am excited about coming here to do my job and score goals. I am a striker so I have to score goals’?