Depay v Di Maria: Is PSV winger outperforming the Argentine this season?

Old Trafford

Following growing speculation linking PSV Eindhoven's Memphis Depay with a move to Manchester United, we compare the Dutchman to the Red Devils' most exciting asset, Angel Di Maria.

With PSV Eindhoven seemingly willing to let Memphis Depay depart in January, it is now reported that Manchester United are leading the chase for his signature, with the club willing to pay as much as £18 million for his services. 

Off the back on an impressive World Cup performance, Depay has stepped his performances up a notch this term. Already the 20-year-old has seven goals - converting 20% of his total shooting opportunities - and two assists, having made just eight domestic appearances.  

The Eredivisie is undoubtedly a weaker league than the English top flight, nonetheless, there have been a number of top quality players who have made the transition from Dutch football to Europe's elite divisions; Luis Suarez, Robin van Persie and Dusan Tadic to name a few.

A similar player to British-record signing Angel Di Maria, in many ways, Depay's individual statistics make for interesting reading, especially when compared to the Manchester United midfielder. In Louis van Gaal's ideal starting-eleven, they would compliment each other extremely well; a prospect that's likely to fill the Red Devils faithful with huge excitement. 

Di Maria has made an inspired start to life at Old Trafford, having netted three times and setting up a further five goals. He has been involved with 47% of the Red Devils' 17 domestic goals this term, while Depay has been accountable (both goals and assists) for 27% of PSV Eindhoven's 33 league strikes.

The Argentine international holds a clear superiority based on chances created per match. Having fashioned 3.11 key passes in each appearance, compared to Depay's rate of 1.87. The British-record signing has more assists than any other player in Europe's top 5 leagues in 2014, therefore it comes as little surprise to see him leading the way in this area.

  TeamGoalsAssistsShots/ AppChances Created/ AppTotal Passes/ AppPass Accuracy (%)Dribbles Won/ AppDribble Success (%)AppsMins
Ángel Di María Man Utd 3 5 3.44 3.11 43.33 79.09 2.22 41.67 9 734
Memphis Depay PSV 7 2 4.75 1.87 28.13 72.00 2 55.17 8 625

Nonetheless, the Dutchman's scoring efforts far outweigh those of the Argentine. Thus far, he has managed an immense 4.75 shots per game, averaging 0.88 goals per match. Di Maria's efforts, 3.44 attempts, have seen him score just 0.33 goals per appearance - he has converted 15.8% of his total chances. 

Both average a relatively low pass completion rate, due to the daring nature of their performances. Di Maria slightly edges the competition, however, having found success in 79% of his attempts to find a team-mate. Not only does Depay average a lower completion rate (72%), but he also attempts fewer passes per appearance; just 28.13, to Di Maria's 43.33. 

There is very little to split the duo when it comes to their dribbling ability. Where Di Maria has recorded 2.22 successful take-ons, Depay has managed two, on average. However, when the pair's overall take on success rate is examined, the Dutchman comes out on top, having completed 55.17% - to Di Maria's 41.67% - of his attempts to beat an opposition defender.

Depay has been in electric form since his return from international duty at the World Cup in South America and there clearly is so much more to come from the 20-year-old. Having worked with the youngster at international level, Louis van Gaal will be well aware of his potential. 

Rather than outperforming Angel Di Maria, Depay is exceeding in alternative areas. While the former Real Madrid is providing the creative impetus at Old Trafford, the Dutchman is driving PSV's title charge thanks to his inspirational scoring form.

Van Gaal is in need of a winger who will not only provide service and assists, but someone who offers a consistent goal scoring threat from out wide. Even in the early stages of his career, there can be no doubt that Depay fits this criteria.

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