Friday 23 February 2018

Louis van Gaal faces difficult task as Liverpool hold 'secret' meeting with Memphis Depay

The highly-rated Memphis Depay, pictured. has been linked with Manchester United and Liverpool
The highly-rated Memphis Depay, pictured. has been linked with Manchester United and Liverpool

Jack de Menezes

Memphis Depay looks set for a summer move to the Premier League but both Manchester United and Liverpool believe they can secure his signature after he visited both clubs earlier this week.

During a ‘secret’ trip to England that has since proved to be far from secret, Depay arrived at Manchester airport before venturing to hold talks over a transfer with United officials. Depay played under current United manager Louis van Gaal during the latter’s stint as Netherlands manager, and the Red Devils are believed to hold the advantage in the race to sign the 21-year-old forward.

The meeting is said to have taken place on Wednesday, and that the Netherlands international was given permission by his club PSV Eindhoven to travel to Manchester to discuss his future given that the club have already sewn-up the Eredivisie title.

However, it has since emerged that Depay also held talks with Liverpool officials including managing director Ian Ayre, and according to The Mirror, the player was left very impressed by Liverpool’s year-long pursuit of him as well as how they presented their plan for the future.

Having enjoyed a strong World Cup showing last year and impressing throughout PSV’s title-winning campaign, Depay is expected to leave the Netherlands this summer, with a move to the Premier League the most likely.

Speaking at his press conference on Friday afternoon, Van Gaal would neither confirm nor deny reports he had met with Depay regarding talks over a possible transfer.

"I don't discuss it with the media," Van Gaal said, before explaining that he cannot sign every player that he used to coach with the Netherlands national team.

"I have a lot of relationships with players. I cannot buy all the players I've coached already."

But with Liverpool making their move to try and lure Depay to Anfield, United could be forced to speed up their transfer plans. With United set to qualify in the top four and return to the Champions League at Liverpool’s expense, a move to Old Trafford would appear to be the more attractive at present.

Yet Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers made it unequivocally clear that he wants to sign quality over quantity this summer following a season of transfer failings. Rodgers revealed that he is ready to sign high quality players in a bid to get Liverpool back into the top four following their drop from title contenders last season to missing out on the Champions League as they are currently on course to do.

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