When you’re Manchester United, what’s another $40 million?
According to Southampton boss Ronald Koeman, that’s a whole lot of money for someone who “won’t play every game.”
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United completed the signing of Dutch winger Memphis Depay earlier this month for that big figure, as the 21-year-old was a favorite of Louis van Gaal’s at the 2014 World Cup, when LVG was in charge of the Netherlands national team.
Koeman, who also hails from Holland, said he had tried to bring Depay to St. Mary’s before the 2014 season. However, when Manchester United expressed interest in the PSV product, Koeman said “we knew at Saints that we had no chance.”
I think they paid a lot of money. Because it is United, where they already spent £200m on players like Angel di Maria, such a big figure is put in perspective.
He won’t play every game. I have learnt, while I am here in England, that Dutch players can’t make the jump to the top of the Premier League easily. And young players can’t play 38 games anyway.
If you pay millions for Di Maria, who hardly plays, if you pay a fortune in wages and rent fee for Radamel Falcao, who never plays, then [$40 million] is not a lot of money for them.
My brother Erwin has the same agent, so we tried to bring him to Southampton, but he wanted to stay for one more year at PSV.
When United went in for him, we knew at Saints that we had no chance. When they come, we have no chance.”
Despite what Koeman may think, Depay has proven he is a top-class player at just 21-years-old. He tallied 28 goals in 40 appearances for PSV last season, albeit in the free-scoring Eredivisie.
I had the opportunity to watch Depay play in-person when the United States defeated the Netherlands earlier this month, and he was extremely impressive.
Playing alongside the likes of Robin van Persie, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Wesley Sneijder, the young Depay was the most dangerous man on the pitch. He has lightning speed and incredible feet, continuously causing havoc down both flanks for the U.S. defense.
Manchester United faces Southampton on September 19, so Koeman will get to see in person if Depay lives up to his price tag.