Memphis Depay arrived in England on Wednesday and announced his intention to become one of the best players in the world.
Speaking just days after his £25m move from PSV Eindhoven to Manchester United was confirmed, Depay laid out his ambitions at Old Trafford and his inspirations so far, including Louis van Gaal and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Depay was compared to Ronaldo recently by Netherlands team-mate Leroy Fer, and it was not a comparison which Depay shied away from. Rather, he embraced it and said he is aiming for Ronaldo’s stature at the very top of the world game.
“I believe I can be one of the best players in the world and I have to dream and believe to achieve that,” said Depay, at an Under Armour boot launch in London.
Manchester United: Potential transfer targets summer 2015
Manchester United: Potential transfer targets summer 2015
1/10 Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton, 24)
With Rafael never getting close to favour under Louis van Gaal, right-back has been a problem area all season for United, with Antonio Valencia filling in at the position. Whilst Valencia has done well, Clyne is now England’s first choice and easily in the top three in his position in the Premier League. Southampton will not want to sell another one of their stars, but the player seemingly wants to move.
2/10 Radamel Falcao (Monaco, 29)
Who knows what will happen with the Colombian. Certainly he is not worth anywhere close to the mega move United were considering when they agreed to loan him last summer, having only scored four goals all season. But with his track record as one of the world’s best, United would be foolish not to consider a cut-price move, just in case he’s not broken once and for all.
3/10 Gareth Bale (Real Madrid, 25)
If a deal were to go through it would be an absolutely massive coup for the club, of course, and you know Manchester United will be exploring any possibility of a move. Despite his perceived unhappiness in Spain, Bale’s agent said he will be staying at the Bernabeu next season. Would cost a massive fee but would instantly turn the club into title contenders.
4/10 Edinson Cavani (PSG, 28)
Manchester United will surely be tempted if he is available despite having bigger needs elsewhere in their squad. Despite the perception that he has struggled to fit in at PSG, Cavani still has 50 goals in 91 matches for the club and has played the majority of his time there out of position on the wing. Tall and athletic he seems like a perfect fit for the Premier League, although he will cost a huge fee.
5/10 Hugo Lloris (Tottenham, 28)
The potential transfer of the Spurs and France No 1 is entirely wrapped in the future of David De Gea - if the Spaniard moves to Real Madrid then United will be scrambling for a new goalkeeper and there aren’t many better than Lloris. He’s four years older than De Gea but still young for a keeper.
6/10 Ilkay Gundogan (Borussia Dortmund, 24)
With Michael Carrick ageing and Wayne Rooney forced to play in the middle at various points this season, central midfield will be one of Van Gaal’s top priorities. The Borussia Dortmund man, 24, is a classy operator, strong on the tackle and a box-to-box threat. He is apparently being chased by Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, among others, so United will have to move quickly.
7/10 Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund, 26)
The World Cup winner should be United’s top target this summer, they have no bigger hole to fill than in the centre of their defence. Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans are all talented defenders, but none of them have the leadership skills necessary and are a level below the very best. Hummels’ arrival would immediately improve the whole backline.
8/10 Nicolas Otamendi (Valencia, 27)
Like Hummels, Otamendi is the dominant type of centre-back that United are missing. He’s a bit on the short side – 6ft – but is a forceful character and very competent on the ball. Louis van Gaal should be considering a move for both, although that will take out a significant chunk of his transfer budget.
9/10 Kevin Strootman (Roma, 25)
It seems as if Louis van Gaal has been linked with the Roma midfielder for the entirety of his reign, who suffered another knee injury back in January and has only played seven times in all competitions this season, his only games since the original injury last April. If he can get back to full fitness then the Dutchman is a dominant midfielder with an eye for goal. But it’s a big ‘if’.
10/10 Felipe Anderson (Lazio, 22)
The Brazilian attacking midfielder has been linked with a £30m move to Old Trafford despite stating he wanted to stay in Rome. The 22-year-old scored 10 goals and added seven assists for Lazio last season and is seen as a potential star of the future.
The 21-year-old has had a brilliant 12 months, scoring twice at the World Cup in Brazil last year before being the best player and one of the leading scorers in this year’s Eredivisie, which PSV have won easily.
“You just have to work every day on your dreams,” Depay explained. “My dreams started with going to the World Cup and then, when I was there, I scored two goals, becoming the youngest-ever Dutch goalscorer, and I was very happy. But when the World Cup was finished, I realised that was not it. I had to do more on the pitch.”
Tottenham tried to sign Depay last summer but he decided to stay at PSV, a decision vindicated by his performances this season, and his eventual move to United. “When I made the decision to stay, I wanted to be champion and top scorer,” he said. “We became champions in the Dutch league and, with one more game left, I can become top scorer. It was a good choice.”
Now Depay will be reunited with Van Gaal, his coach from the World Cup, and he is looking forward to working with a manager who has been so important to him. “He is different,” said Depay, with real admiration. “His performance on the training ground is different from other trainers. After the World Cup, he told me to stay hungry and I told myself to stay hungry.”
Depay wants to reach the top and he is open in his admiration for Ronaldo, whose free-kick technique has inspired him to develop his own effective way of scoring from dead-ball situations.
Depay said that it was “great to hear” Fer compare him to Ronaldo. “It is great to hear that from other players,” he said. “But I am 21 and I have not reached the level of Cristiano Ronaldo. He is a big hero for me and one day I hope to reach that level. He scores so many goals and I want to fight to be one of the best players in the world.”
Under Armour athlete Memphis Depay unveils the new SpeedForm CRM football boot. To learn how the boot is redefining speed on the football pitch, visit www.underarmour.com.
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