PSV had perhaps their best team for years last season and clinched the Eredivisie with relative comfort, with Memphis Depay and Gini Wijnaldum taking most of the plaudits. Both managed to secure a move to the Premier League, but they have had differing fortunes in England. The former has struggled and has lost his place in the side to the homegrown Jesse Lingard, which shows how Depay has under-performed this season. Meanwhile, Wijnaldum has been a revelation for Newcastle, despite their struggles as a side. He has stood out as a complete midfielder capable of taking his Eredivisie form into the Premier League, which begs the question, why weren’t there bigger clubs in for him last summer? And did Manchester United buy the wrong player from PSV last summer asks Jake Jackman.
Manchester United wanted to add some attacking talent to their squad over the summer and opted for Depay, who was excellent last season for PSV, scoring 22 goals and getting 5 assists. However, Manchester United don’t play out and out wingers, which has prevented Depay from settling in. Also he is only 21 years old and perhaps Manchester United underestimated how much time the Dutchman needed to reach his best form. He has scored just two goals in 17 league appearances and has looked like a weak link at times, especially against Stoke when the first goal was down to his poor touch.
The one time dominant force of English football haven’t managed to get a balanced partnership in central midfield, with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Michael Carrick and Morgan Schneiderlin being very similar, and none of them offer that attacking impetus from deep, which makes the team one dimensional in attack. This is why I feel Georginio Wijnaldum would have been a better fit for Louis van Gaal’s side this summer, as he can play in central midfield, and he is a forward-thinking player, who would have given their midfield another dimension. It’s odd that the club didn’t at least try to sign Wijnaldum, considering that the manager knows him well from his time as manager of the national side.
Another reason why Wijnaldum would have been a better fit is that he has been involved in transferring clubs before, and he is far more experienced than Depay. This has allowed him to be better prepared for moving to a new league, which is evident in his immediate impact. He has nine goals and three assists for Newcastle, and he still has 16 games to play. The Dutchman has a great chance of securing a big goal tally for the season, which is rare for a midfielder in his debut Premier League season. He has the potential to be one of the most complete midfielders produced in the Netherlands since Wesley Sneijder. Although he would have had less freedom at Manchester United, he would have been a better fit than Memphis Depay and would have been a big improvement on their current midfield options.
It is concerning to see the failures of Depay this season and Manchester United doesn’t look a good fit for him. Hopefully he manages to make an impact in the second half of the season as he has a lot of talent and it would be a shame for his confidence to be hit so soon after his big money move. If he doesn’t do any better before the summer, he should try and look for a move away from Old Trafford, unless van Gaal departs as it doesn’t look like he will ever have sustained success under his former national team manager. In hindsight, Depay should have moved to a smaller club, in order to bridge from PSV to a huge Champions League club, like Wijnaldum has.
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