Speculation continues to loom over the future of Memphis Depay after his contract nears its expiration date. Top sources have suggested that Memphis would prefer to move to a larger club like Barcelona after his contract expires in June.
Memphis Depay Close to Lyon Exit as Contract Nears End
Speculation Continues Over Depay Future
Memphis Depay has continued to excel under Rudi Garcia at Lyon this season. Operating in a false-nine role, the Dutchman’s creativity has cemented his place as one of the best players in the league.
He currently leads Ligue 1 in key passes per match (2.6) and is 2nd for both big chances created (13) and for involvements in goal-scoring and shot-creating buildups.
His departure would be detrimental to Lyon, who’ll be tempted to scour the transfer market for a replacement. The following players are some options that Les Gones could consider as valuable and worthwhile replacements.
Three Players to Replace Memphis Depay
After having only arrived in July from São Paolo, the Ajax right-winger Antony is already considered one of the best young prospects in all of Europe.
The 20-year-old Brazilian has played in 13 Eredivisie matches so far, scoring eight goals, leading the league in assists (8), and is 4th for big chances created (10). Antony is also in the top 25 in the league’s rankings for successful dribbles per match (1.7) and key passes per match (1.5).
The Brazilian plays with flair and is very good on the ball, usually cutting in from the right to open up space for a pass or a shot. He plays using short combinations and lay-off passes, constantly moving off the ball.
One of his best skills is his crossing, which he has utilized significantly to contribute to Ajax’s scoring chances. Of the average crosses he attempts per game (3.8), he’s averaging 0.8 key passes per match from those crosses. This shows how accurate and efficient he is at delivering balls into the forwards.
Antony also possesses a strong defensive work rate, sitting 3rd in the Eredivisie for most possessions won in the final third of the pitch (20). His relentless and tireless determination in Ajax’s high press is another crucial upside.
With his creative ability from crosses, he could find much success at Lyon. Cameroonian forward Karl Toko Ekambi could benefit from Antony’s in-swingers as he tends to get on the end of crosses frequently. Antony would make up for the creativity lost with the departure of Memphis, adding a new dynamic to the forward line. His close control, speed, and defensive pressure would make him a tough challenge for any defence in Ligue 1.
Playing some of his best football this season, the 25-year-old Belgian winger could add a direct style to Lyon’s attack.
He’s played 21 matches for KRC Genk in Belgium’s first division, scoring 12 goals and providing two assists. He’s 3rd in the league for shots on target per match (1.5), and 5th in successful dribbles per match (1.9).
Theo Bongonda is a pacey, goal-scoring winger who has the ability to create scoring chances for himself. He uses his dribbling and natural speed to get through the defence, rounding off his runs with precise and accurate finishing. His movement off the ball is unique, often interchanging in a front three with fellow forwards Paul Onuachu and Junya Ito. This movement makes it difficult for the opposition to track and mark him effectively.
He could potentially cause serious problems in France. His ability to attack the space and create off the dribble will make the Lyon attack very direct. Because of his positioning and goal-scoring threat, he would thrive with service from midfielders Houssem Aouar and Lucas Paquetá. Positional versatility between Tino Kadewere, Toko Ekambi, and Bongonda would confuse defences and enhance attacking build-ups.
Nikola Vlasic is arguably the best player in the Russian Premier League. If a move to France were to come to fruition, he would find great success.
The Croatian international is one of the most in-form players in the competition with eight goals and five assists in 17 matches. He leads in front for shots on target per match (1.9), key passes per match (3.1), and possessions won in the final third of the pitch (15).
Vlasic plays as an attacking midfielder for CSKA Moscow but tends to drop quite deep in build-up play. He has sharp dribbling and ball control abilities, giving him the freedom to roam and initiate different kinds of attacks.
His shooting power is exceptional, especially when he shoots from distance or takes free kicks. His work rate in the press makes him an effective ball-winner in the final third, which would appeal to manager Rudi Garcia.
The French manager would potentially use Vlasic in a similar tactical role to that which Depay is currently playing. For Moscow, the Croatian has popped up in similar areas of the field to receive passes, dribble, and shoot. This could be valuable for Lyon, who’s thriving with the use of this player role in their tactical setup.
Of the three players listed, Vlasic would be the most suitable signing for Lyon. He would come at a heftier price tag, but tactically he fits in like a puzzle piece. Antony’s got it all to be a future star, however, his inexperience and tender age could be a risk. Bongonda has several upsides although has yet to prove himself in tougher competitions like Ligue 1.
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