Tuesday 20 March 2018

Man United's £25m swoop for Depay to kickstart £200m summer spending

Memphis Depay
Memphis Depay

Jason Burt and Chris Bascombe

Manchester United have made the first move in a summer overhaul by agreeing the £25m signing of Memphis Depay.

United announced the deal for the PSV Eindhoven winger pending a medical, with the 21-year-old confirming he rejected offers from Premier League rivals to reunite with Louis Van Gaal.

It is understood Liverpool were among those keen to match United's bid for the attacker, but the lure of United was too strong.

The speed with which Depay has been recruited shows United are keen to act decisively in the market and hit the ground running in August. They want all their business concluded before their pre-season tour in July.

Depay tweeted: "In the end it was just a matter of feeling, not a matter of money.

"For me, Manchester United is an absolute dream club, so I didn't need any convincing. Working with manager Louis van Gaal again is also a big bonus."

Depay has scored 49 goals for PSV and was also part of the Dutch World Cup squad under Van Gaal.

The next key signing for Van Gaal will be a 'No 6' midfielder - a deeper-lying playmaker - who will be a integral to how he wants his team to play in his 4-3-3 formation. Van Gaal has Michael Carrick, but he is 33 and has suffered too many injuries to be relied upon every week.

Juventus' Paul Pogba, who is comfortable in attack and defence, would fit the bill, but he could cost £60-100m.

The finances are not a problem for United, but there would be strong competition for the 22-year-old, especially as Chelsea remain keen and Manchester City, Paris St-Germain and Real Madrid are also interested.

United might instead turn their attention back to Roma's Kevin Strootman or Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan.

Another Dortmund player, Mats Hummels, has long been trailed as a central defensive target, although United are concerned he is over-priced and may struggle with the pace of the Premier League.

At right-back, Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne is under consideration.

Aside from these positions, United will continue to monitor the situation of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid. United failed with a £100m bid two years ago. They would be prepared to match that, so convinced are they the Welshman can elevate them back to genuine title contenders.


Bale has made it clear he wants to stay at Real for at least one more year but that could change if he is told he is no longer wanted. Although United would also have competition in signing Bale, they are confident they would outbid any other club.

United are also interested in bringing back Cristiano Ronaldo because even though the striker is 30, he is regarded as a player who could carry on at the top level for many more years.

Despite these planned incomings, United still want to retain Ángel Di María.

The key deal in terms of retaining players will be to secure the future of goalkeeper David De Gea.

United hope offloading Javier Fernandez, Nani, Jonny Evans and Rafael will rise around £25m.

Should Radamel Falcao leave as expected, it will save £265,000 a week in wages. His future will be determined by a more realistic financial package.

United also intend to keep Robin Van Persie, even though he has only one more year left on his contract. However, the striker can go if he asks to leave. (© Daily Telegraph, London)


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