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Memphis Depay: Why the exciting Man Utd signing has SPLIT Dutch football (reprise)

Manchester United have this morning announced the signing of PSV Eindhoven winger Memphis Depay.

Depay will move to United next month for a fee rising to €31 million plus bonuses.

Two months ago, we profiled Depay. For more on the Dutch talent, read on:

  For Europe's biggest clubs, the talent is undeniable. But the temperament? Well, that's another question...

Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich have all taken a close look at Memphis Depay over the last 18 months. But it isn't only the new, three-year deal he signed with PSV Eindhoven this season that has held them back from tabling a firm offer.

The simple fact is: Memphis Depay is a lightening rod in Dutch football and has split Eredivisie experts down the middle.

For many, the 21 year-old is the most talented of his generation. A free-scoring winger, whose street-wise skills should be applauded and encouraged. For others, Depay is selfish, plays for himself and has an overblown ego that should not be indulged.

René van der Gijp, the former PSV player, is a confirmed member of the latter camp.

"From kickoff, he runs everywhere except in his own position! He gets in everyone else's way. I would tell him his first responsibility is to his own position. The system you play needs order."

Van der Gijp is convinced Depay has been overindulged.

"There is no one at PSV who tells him: do things normally. Actually PSV lack someone like Rinus Michels (former Holland coach), who would give him a clip around the ear so he remembers where he is."

A poor performance against Ajax earlier this month, which drew scouts from across Europe, had the local press sharpening their knives.

Out came the stats: an impressive 15 goals this season, but from 116 goal attempts - a return of 13 per cent. More damning was Depay's assists record, just four for the season.

Fortunately for the midfielder, those inside PSV are his biggest fans, including coach Philipp Cocu.

"Memphis played well against Ajax," said Cocu. "Then someone arrives with stats that says Memphis lost the ball something like 30 times.

"But if you try nothing, you create nothing . And he takes risks. It's about where he loses the ball."

Cocu, who has confessed he expects his young star to be sold this summer, stressed that Depay will always have his support.

"If such a type of player who usually makes the difference does not score for a few games, this kind of talk always comes up. Not internally, but externally."

So if he is so erratic and needing to be publicly defended, why all the fuss?

Ed van Stijn, a former Manchester United scout, who has now since retired, is convinced by Depay's potential and admits he actually convinced PSV to keep hold of the player when a junior.

"I said to Huub Stevens (PSV coach for season 2008/09): keep a watch on that Depay. PSV will have a lot of fun with him in the future," recalled the 69 year-old.

"Depay has undeniable talent, which only needs further development. Forget about his technique. It's there. Now it's about improving the small details."

Van Stijn scouted Cristiano Ronaldo for United manager Sir Alex Ferguson when the Portuguese was coming through at Sporting CP.

There are similarities between the two, he claims, though with a stark difference.

"I think at the same age, Depay is MUCH further along in his game. His talent has developed more. At 21, Ronaldo was making the same errors as he was at 18 when I was scouting him."

Former Holland assistant coach Wim van Hanegem agrees.

Discussing a recent missed penalty, Van Hanegem opined: "He realised he could've blown the points for PSV. He bucked up his ideas. In the past, last season, he would've responded lazily.

"He now wants to be a champion, he and (teammate) Georginio Wijnaldum no longer want to be laughed at.

"That's great to see."

Depay has set clear goals for himself, which does include moving onto a bigger stage.

"I want to be the best for PSV in the Netherlands and to be among the best players in the world. I know I must therefore show more," he says.

He's no stranger to publicity and insists the criticism is something he can handle.

"Well, everyone knows what I can do. I'm used to the focus being on me, that I do not mind. Not only the outside world expects a lot from me, I include myself in that also."

A move to Louis van Gaal's Manchester United is tipped for Depay this summer. But Van Stijn, despite his links to Old Trafford, believes such a step would be too great at this stage in his career.

Instead, he nominates another Premier League destination - Tottenham.

"They're a club that sits at the perfect level. He must not go to Barcelona or Real Madrid. There are plenty of examples of players who have chosen to join a top club too soon and ultimately failed to achieve the desired objective.

"Depay should not do the same."

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Tribal Football Staff

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