The inevitable of Memphis Depay signing for Barcelona will happen. If there have been less rumours lately it isn’t because the transfer has cooled down, but rather because the club was waiting to sell Luis Suárez and perhaps announce Sergiño Dest. Barça planned on making Dest’s move official yesterday or today, but with Suárez’s goodbye and Messi’s message, the right-back may be announced this weekend and Depay next week.
So where will Depay play? With our long list of attacking options, whose place will he take in the starting XI? Because, as a personal request by Ronald Koeman, Memphis may be a regular starter. After leaving Manchester United in 2017, his move to Lyon seemed a step back, but he has recovered his best form and has matured a lot.
Previously a very dribbling and somewhat egocentric winger, he has evolved and has added more mobility, versatility, intelligence and goals to his game. This has seen him act as a 9, or false 9, often lately. He stays away from the box, drop deeps or to any of both flanks, always aiming to stay in touch with the ball, though he is good at running into space too. He has a quick turn, is elastic, and has an excellent technique and vision.
Freedom is what he has required both with Lyon and the Netherlands, and in Koeman’s front 4 so far, the attackers have been granted much of such liberty and dynamism. Depay could operate as a false 9, behind the 9 or as a left winger. He isn’t a pure striker, but nor is Messi. The minutes for Ansu Fati or even Griezmann could be compromised, but his arrival will give Koeman greater flexibility.