Opinion : Memphis Depay could be pivotal for Barça next season

There is something about Memphis Depay that’s instantly obvious whenever he gets on the ball. Memphis Depay is no Neymar. Depay is no Ronaldinho. But Depay has the rare gift of making you briefly feel he’s as skilled as those two Brazilian greats.

Pass him the ball, afford him a little more precious space and time, and Depay will attempt a step over, a body feint, a quick twist of the ankle. This is who Memphis Depay is. A player who takes great delight in dribbling past a forest of human bodies. He’s a player with an insatiable lust for showboating. A player whose greatest fulfillment lies not in just scoring but in entertaining. 

Back to his best form?

On Sunday eve against a helpless Mallorca side, Depay was all of this and more. Depay, together with Aubameyang and Ferran Torres in Barça’s attack, posed a harmful threat from the left channel throughout the game. All night long, Depay entertained, dribbled, passed, ran, scored, dribbled and dribbled. The Dutch of Ghanaian descent attempted five dribbles. Guess what? He completed five dribbles. 

On SofaScore, Depay was the highest-rated player among the mere mortals privileged enough to be sharing the same playing field. The Camp Nou crowd witnessed in the flesh what this part-time musician is capable of when in his element. And this much was evident when spectators made sweet, orgasmic noise to Depay’s every sublime touch and movement, to his every pause and play. A master was at work and his audience was satisfactorily pleased.

It came as a real surprise to absolutely no one when Memphis scored the game’s opener. The spectacular assist belonged to Jordi Alba. A man who is criminally underappreciated even in good times, even in times of great plenty. The clever goal belonged to Memphis Depay. A man who looked like a new creation under the heavy grey Camp Nou clouds. And even before Depay had shot and gone to celebrate, that splendid touch to tame Alba’s floated pass was nothing short of wizardry. This is who Depay is. 

How will the future look for Memphis?

Having diligently worked his way through the ranks at PSV, Depay first came into prominence when he signed for Manchester United some seven years back. Regrettably, this marriage was never meant to be. At only 21 then, Depay struggled to fit in at a club the size of United. After just 18 months, he departed for Lyon. There, he regained his confidence and magic and mettle. Just last season, it was Depay who netted 22 times in all competitions for Lyon and produced a further 12 assists. He excelled too with the Netherlands national football team. 

And so for this very reason, Barcelona were eager to acquire this gem of a player. And eventually Barcelona did acquire this gem of a player. Regrettably, things haven’t gone according to plan for the 28 year old. Continual injuries have plagued his season, goals have come in spurts. And there is a general feeling Depay has not really lived up to expectations. He has twelve goals under his belt for Barça thus far this campaign. This is quite decent if you play for Lyon, but quite subpar if your club is Barcelona. 

At a point in the season, bogus rumors had it that Barcelona had transfer-listed Memphis Depay. Perhaps there’s some hint of truth in there. But, ideally, Memphis should be given a bit more time and patient to completely settle in. Perhaps things can improve. Perhaps the love story between Memphis Depay and Barcelona has only just begun. Maybe, just maybe, he might be able to take the league by storm next season.

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