Memphis Depay has joined Atletico Madrid from Barcelona for a fee of £2.63 million. The deal includes an option for Atletico Madrid winger Yannick Carrasco. This could see the Belgian make the switch the other way in the summer. This article looks at the pros and cons of the deal.
Memphis Depay has been unfortunate at Barcelona
Depay’s stint at Barcelona has not gone according to plan. He fell out of favour with Xavi because he didn’t get much game time. This season he has played 4 games and scored 1 goal. This is a complete contrast to last season where he scored 12 goals in 36 games. He doesn’t start much games as the manager has other attacking options. Xavi’s attacking options consist of Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski, Ansu Fati , Ferran Torres and Ousmane Dembele.
Atletico Madrid need him
Memphis Depay could be the difference for Atletico Madrid in their fight for Champions League football. In Atletico’s last 3 games (before January 19th) they had 30 shots and scored once. This shows they lack a clinical edge in front of goal. João Félix was their top goal scorer last season with 12 goals. He won’t be their for the rest of the season as he has gone on loan to Chelsea for the rest of the season. A forward who can get 20 goals a season could help them convert the shots they are having.
He is going for a small fee
Memphis Depay is going to Atletico Madrid for £2.63 million. This means if he does not perform well, it will not be a huge loss for Atletico. The price tag will put him under less pressure to perform in contrast to a higher priced player. The price tag could be down to the fact that his contract is running out in the summer. This means Barcelona had to let him go now before he left for free in the summer.
Depay is not a natural number 9
It is not clear whether he can play up front on his own. In the World Cup, he played alongside Steven Bergwijn in a 2 up front. This is a problem as Atletico can’t play him as the lone striker. Fortunately for him, the Spanish giants usually play two up front (currently Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata). This means it should not be that much of an issue that he is not a natural number 9.
However, it could be problematic if they want to switch to playing with a lone striker. It also remains to be seen how Griezmann and Depay do in a 2 up front as they are both false 9’s.
The deal is not a risk for Atletico as other strikers have gone from Barca to Atletico and have succeeded. Luis Suarez and David Villa come to mind when talking about former Barcelona strikers at Atletico. Depay has also proven he can score goals during his time at Lyon. His problem at Barcelona was that he fell out of favour with the manager. Whether he can rekindle the form he had at Lyon is another matter.