The Manchester United winger experienced a distinct lack of game time last season, despite being rewarded a new contract by Van Gaal's predecessor, David Moyes, and only time will tell if the Dutch head coach is ready to put his faith in him next term.
Both players have featured for their respective nations in the summer World Cup. Below we look at the two players’ tournament statistics, courtesy of Opta, to decide who would be the best option ahead of next season.
|Team||Pos||Goals / apps||Total Scoring Att / apps||(Ontarget Scoring Att / Total Scoring Att) * 100||(Goals / Total Scoring Att) * 100||(Big Chance Scored / (Big Chance Scored+Big Chance Missed)) * 100||Apps||Mins|
Depay may have been afforded fewer minutes than Portugal's Nani, but he has been highly effective when used in this cameo role. The youngster has notched two goals, thus far, compared to the Manchester United-man's solitary strike versus the United States.
The Dutch midfielder has looked a dangerous threat throughout his two appearances and it's difficult to argue with his prowess in front of goal. He has hit the target with each and every attempt in Brazil, converting over half of his chances.
Nani has proven less accurate, yet he has recorded a far greater number of shots. Nonetheless, in terms of finishing their 'dead cert' chances, both players failed to disappoint.
|Team||Pos||Touches / apps||(Accurate Pass / Total Pass) * 100||mins / Total Att Assist||Goal Assist||Total Contest / apps||(Won Contest / (Total Contest+Overrun)) * 100||Dispossessed / apps|
On first reflection, Nani appears the more adept player in regard to chance creation. Having played throughout the entirety of the group stage, the Portuguese winger created a goal scoring opportunity for a team-mate once every 54 minutes, compared to the 66 minutes of the Netherland's wonder kid, yet Depay boasts the only assist registered by the two players.
Depay has been far more courageous in his attempts to take on an opponent. The Dutchman has looked to outwit a defender more regularly than Nani, despite experiencing less time on the field. He has also been dispossessed on fewer occasions.
Having played just over an hour of World Cup football, Depay already has two goals and one assist to his name; an impressive record by any standards.
He looks an extremely promising prospect and having enjoyed the advantage of playing under Louis Van Gaal for the majority of the tournament, it's more than likely he will have attracted the entirety of the Manchester United head coach's attention.
Nani will depart Brazil having been one of Portugal's top performers, but this says very little considering how poorly the team performed, in what will go down as an endeavour to forget.
If Van Gaal can negotiate a reasonable price with PSV for Depay's services, I would expect to see him in a Manchester United shirt come the beginning of the season.