Memphis shining brightest just before Barcelona move

It took a year longer than expected but Memphis Depay is officially a Barcelona player.

After the expiry of his Lyon contract, Memphis has moved to join his former national team manager Ronald Koeman on a free transfer and will rock the famous red and blue shirt next season alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Pedri, Frenkie De Jong and other superstars.

He’s celebrating the move while competing at Euro 2020 for the Netherlands and he’s showing why Barcelona were interested in him.

I said last year that Barcelona were crazy to be looking at him, simply because he’s not the player he once was expected to be.

But watching him during the last campaign with Lyon and also with Holland, he is showing exactly why Koeman was so desperate to make him part of the side last summer.

During Euro 2020, Memphis has been my player of the tournament throughout the group stages. His pace has been tremendous, he’s shown quick feet, he’s one of the top scorers in the competition with three goals, has two assists in the three games but has been influential in everything Netherlands have done well.

He’s played as one of a front-two, pressing well and helping to lead counter attacks. He’s also played out on the left, drifting in to cause problems with good ball retention and a good relationship with wing-back Patrick Van Aanholt.

If you contrast that to Barcelona and the way they played under Koeman, he is a perfect fit. He’ll link well with Jordi Alba out wide, he can link with Messi and/or Antoine Griezmann in a central position and is capable of playing different systems and styles.

His final product has become less flashy over time and more about efficiency, but he hasn’t lost the swagger in his play that makes him entertaining to watch.

Koeman’s Barcelona overcame a really tough start to push themselves to the brink of a La Liga title, so with the squad that the manager wants you’d expect that they’d only improve.

Lionel Messi is going to re-sign with the club after being made to see the progress that has been made so he will be rejuvenated and motivated to do better. Alongside someone who thrives in having the pressure on him like Memphis does, that could only help Barcelona.

As for Holland, they are one of only three teams to have progressed with a 100% record into the round of 16 at Euro 2020 and have a favourable draw in the competition.

Their performances have been pushed to the moon by the form of Memphis, Gini Wijnaldum, Frenkie De Jong and Denzel Dumfries. The Netherlands are back and with Memphis leading the line, anything is possible for the famous Oranje.


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