Memphis Depay is no longer a Manchester United player – but there’s no reason he couldn’t be again in the future. The Dutch winger joined Lyon after spending six months on the fringes of the first team at Old Trafford. This wasn’t down to the quality of Memphis, Mourinho insists. The flanks are crowded and he suffered because of that.
Jose Mourinho explained at his press conference: “He’s a player from one position, the only position where we have overbooking. He’s a winger and wingers are what we have more of. So he was the position where it’s more difficult to have chances, where it’s more difficult to be the next choice because it is a position where we never have problems.
“We have Lingard, Mata, we have Mkhitaryan, we have Martial, Ashley Young, we have Marcus Rashford, it’s a position where we have six possibilities. Even Rooney sometimes played from the left.
“It’s a position where we have difficulties when we want to rotate. When we try to rest some players, and try and play some in the Europa League, others in the League Cup and other ones against Reading in the FA Cup, even when I do rotation, I have seven guys for two positions. So I would say these two things about him – on one side he is a fantastic professional and on the other side, we had too many players in this position.”
United’s buy-back clause
Speaking about why United inserted a buy-back clause into Depay’s Lyon contract, Mourinho said it was blindingly obvious: “Of course because potentially he’s a very good player. In the World Cup he had flashes of top quality. He was playing well in Holland. We know that the Dutch league is not the same, but he was showing very good things.
“I think Mr van Gaal and Manchester United did very well to buy him. It did not succeed in these 18 months, I would say, but he’s very young and I would say it’s very important for the club to have control of his talent. We all wish he plays very, very well at Olympique Lyonnaise and why not then come back because everyone here likes him.”