A big piece of Liverpool’s summer transfer strategy may have been revealed: 21-year-old Dutch attacker Memphis Depay. PSV Eindhoven’s rising star has been linked to Manchester United due to the presence of former Dutch national team manager Louis van Gaal, but at least for the time being, Liverpool reportedly remain frontrunners.
"Liverpool so far have the strongest contact with the club," Dutch journalist Marcel van der Kraan, who has close ties to the club, told TalkSport this week. "They are in official talks, and the board of PSV has told us that. But Man U made a phone call last week, and all the alarm bells went off, not just with PSV but also Depay because his former manager is there.
"I don’t think he will go to Paris, though they will offer the biggest wage packet. Last summer, Spurs wanted to pay €20M, which is about £15M. PSV wanted to take that but the player chose to wait and any transfer was postponed. Now, with the progress the player has made, PSV are not willing to accept that figure. They want £25M and I think will get it—Liverpool have not been scared off by that figure."
If Manchester United aren’t scared off by it, things could get interesting, but it appears Liverpool are already deep in negotiations with the Dutch side and perhaps even close to reaching an agreement with Depay’s club. The 21-year-old has been in dominant form this season, with 26 goals and six assists in 37 appearances across all competitions so far.
The nature of the Eredivisie and its inflationary effect on attacking numbers means those stats have to be taken with a grain of salt, but Depay’s six goals and two assists in nine Europa League matches is encouraging. So too is a solid 13.5% strike rate that speaks to the player’s ability to make an impact across the front line even if he is most commonly classed as a winger.
Depay has so far earned 15 caps for the Dutch national team, and he scored two goals and an assist at last summer’s World Cup in one start and three substitute appearances. His skill and style has seen him compared to Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as to Alexis Sanchez, who Liverpool failed to sign last summer when they tried to find a replacement for the departed Luis Suarez.