It’s taken until the age of 25 but it seems that the penny has finally dropped for Memphis Depay.
Self-confidence has never been a problem for a Dutchman who loves nothing more than wacky headwear and spitting bars on social media, but Depay is now letting his football grab the headlines instead. He looks focused, consistent and the stats show that.
So far, Lyon’s enigmatic forward has four goals in four Ligue 1 games and he took his irrepressible club form into the international break, tearing Germany’s new-look defence apart during a stunning 4-2 win for the Netherlands during last week’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Hamburg.
In total, Depay has five goals and two assists to his name since the new season begun. And, after that thrashing of the 2014 World Cup winners, former Real Madrid and Tottenham star Rafael Van der Vaart claimed that Depay was starting to reach the levels of Arjen Robben, arguably the greatest out-and-out winger of his generation (NOS).
So what has brought about this sudden transformation from a player whose consistency has never matched his quality?
Maybe being snubbed by Everton during the summer transfer window was something of a reality check for Depay, who continues to be overlooked by the very top clubs with concerns over his attitude, and that ill-fated spell at Manchester United, still hanging over him.
According to The Mail, Everton turned down the chance to sign Depay in August and, with all due respect to The Toffees, they weren’t exactly at the front of the Dutchman’s mind when he told Helden in May that he wanted to play for one of the ‘top five’ clubs in Europe.
"I want to go to a club like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain or Bayern Munich,” he said.
If Depay can prove that this stunning start to 2019/20 is more than another false dawn, maybe another chance at the very top level won’t too far away. Fall into his old habits, however, and even clubs outside the Premier League’s ‘big six’ will be reluctant to take a risk on him.
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