As reports claim Milan have stepped up their pursuit of Lyon forward Memphis Depay, the Dutchman could be a great addition for us after getting his career back on track with the Ligue 1 outfit.
The Rossoneri have options in the final third, although it’s questionable as to whether or not there’s enough quality and depth in the current squad to fire us back into top-four contention in Serie A as it stands now.
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A decision will be needed on Zlatan Ibrahimovic firstly, as Milan have an option in the 38-year-old’s current deal which allows us to extend his stay for another 12 months, as per the club’s official site.
Rafael Leao, Ante Rebic, Samu Castillejo and the midfield contingent will be expected to support him, but it could be argued that more is needed in that department to provide more firepower and creativity in the final third, particularly with the jury still out on Leao. Could Depay be the solution?
Depay back on track at Lyon
Following an impressive breakthrough at PSV Eindhoven, his big switch to Manchester United in 2015 didn’t go to plan as he struggled to discover his best form and lasted just a season-and-a-half at Old Trafford.
Fortunately for the Dutch international, he has managed to get back to his best with Lyon, bagging 53 goals and 43 assists in 134 appearances for the French giants. Still only 26 years of age, his best years may still be ahead and he’ll hope that if he’s on the move again in the near future, he’ll be better prepared and more experienced to prove his class at the top level and deal with the pressure on his shoulders to perform better.
There are obstacles though, as he’s been sidelined since December with a cruciate ligament injury and so it remains to be seen how he bounces back from that.
Nevertheless, with his current contract set to expire in 2021, Tuttomercatoweb have suggested that Milan have made contact and could put an offer of €20m plus a future resale clause on the table to try and convince Lyon to part company with their star man who had previously been valued at €50m.
It’s added that renewal talks have failed thus far, and with Lyon unlikely to be involved in the Champions League next season and Depay’s valuation plummeting, the pieces could be falling into place to make this a viable option for Milan this summer as the ownership are said to be prepared to green light such a swoop.
Versatility gives Milan options, quality to make key impact
Whether it’s being deployed on the left wing, up front or perhaps in more of a support role behind the frontman, Depay has shown an ability to play in different positions and roles.
That would certainly be a useful trait as with Rebic and Leao also options to play on the left flank, it would be useless to stock up on players who could feature in that same role and neglect other needs in the squad.
The disappointment of things not working out for him at United would have been a mental blow and a test of his character, having ultimately failed to step up and deliver on his potential when given one of the grandest stages of them all to shine on.
Having bounced back at Lyon, it offers insight on his personality and quality, while he continues to play an important part for the Netherlands with 19 goals in 51 caps.
Importantly though for us at this stage of his career, Depay is in that phase between being a talented youngster with potential and the finished article. He boasts enough experience and a proven track record to suggest that he’s a more accomplished and polished target to provide an immediate impact, while there is still certainly room for improvement and to develop his game to take it to the next level.
Those are the kind of signings Milan should be prioritising this summer, and especially if we can take advantage of the advantageous circumstances touted in the report above to get what many would arguably perceive to be a bargain if we could land Depay’s signature for around €20m, it’s a smart move to strengthen our attacking options and add more pace, mobility, directness and a real goal threat to our frontline.
Having Rebic, Leao and Depay as options to play off or around Ibrahimovic would give us a real dangerous look, while offering whoever the coach is next season the option to also rest the Swede and have enough quality in the squad to cope with his absence rather than having to rely too heavily on him, if he stays.
Leao still has much to prove and Castillejo still has a level to step up to in order to be more decisive in the final third. In turn, if we’re in the market for an attacking player, Depay at €20m sounds like good business if it can be done.