Belfast Telegraph

Memphis Depay's arrival is the first of many for busy Manchester United

Dutch winger just the beginning as bale, hummels and clyne remain on lvg's radar

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester United started their summer recruitment yesterday with the £25m signing of Dutch winger Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven.

Depay has just enjoyed the best season of his career, winning the Dutch title with Phillip Cocu's side and attracting more attention from big foreign clubs for his signature than any Dutch side could feasibly resist.

Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain were both interested in Depay but he has decided instead to team up with Louis van Gaal, the man who took him to last year's World Cup in Brazil.

The signing of Depay marks the start of a crucial summer for Van Gaal, who is keen to build on the foundations of a solid, if mixed, first season in charge at Old Trafford.

Even after all the money that was spent in 2014, refreshing a squad that had gone stale, United are still very much in need of youth and pace if they want to mount a title challenge in 2015-16.

There will certainly be upgrades in other positions before the transfer window closes - it does not even open for another three weeks. United are confident of signing Nathaniel Clyne from Southampton, ahead of Chelsea, and his future is likely to be settled next week.

United also believe they can prise Mats Hummels away from Borussia Dortmund after a tumultuous season at the German club.

Then there is an aspirational interest, as ever, in Gareth Bale, while the future of goalkeeper David de Gea - and the likely move to replace him with Tottenham Hotspur's Hugo Lloris - remains unclear.

For now, there is Depay, one of the most gifted young wingers in Europe. He is quick, direct, enjoys beating players and cutting in to unleash a powerful right foot.

He has impressed ever since he emerged at PSV and was given his debut by Cocu at the age of 18 in early 2012. Depay performed sufficiently well at PSV that he was part of Van Gaal's talented young squad at last year's World Cup.

It was in Brazil that Depay, along with the likes of Stefan de Vrij, Jordy Clasie and Daryl Janmaat, showed they are ready to form the next great generation of Dutch players.

Depay turned the outcome of the thriller against Australia in Porto Alegre, setting up Robin van Persie's equaliser before smashing in the winner from 25 yards out.

Against Chile in the third group game, Depay scored the goal which confirmed that the Netherlands had won Group B.

Those performances were enough to attract interest from Tottenham Hotspur, but he stayed at PSV for another year of growth and is now a more rounded player.

Depay made clear on his Twitter profile last night that he wants to be as successful at United as he was in Eindhoven.

"I always say: Dream, Believe, Achieve," he wrote. "I was dreaming and believing of becoming the champions of the Eredivisie with PSV and we achieved it. Now it's time to set my goals again on winning trophies with Man Utd."

Of course, there will be competition for places in wide areas at Old Trafford next season, when Van Gaal will still have Juan Mata, Ashley Young and Angel di Maria to choose from.

United have just started talking to Young about a new deal after a good run of form in the second half of this campaign.

Adnan Januzaj is likely to go out on loan next year, and Depay will have the chance to prove that he can help deliver trophies for the United faithful.

Belfast Telegraph


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