Memphis Depay's time to show he is ready for bigger clubs
Manchester United flop, Memphis Depay, has not made his desire to leave Olympique Lyon for a bigger stage in world football, and he is set to face Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League in a career-defining second-leg at the Camp Nou.
Memphis' move from PSV Eindhoven to Manchester United was met with great expectations, after the Dutchman lit the Eredivisie alight with his thrilling displays and excellent goalscoring form for a winger. The highly-technical winger managed to score 22 goals in 30 league matches in his final season at PSV, and this was rewarded with a £25 million move to giants Manchester United.
However, Memphis never truly managed to maintain a consistent run of form, especially after he produced a wonderful display on his competitive debut in the UEFA Champions League qualifying round, scoring twice against Club Brugge. He did not really retain that form, scoring just seven goals in 45 appearances in all competition during the 2015/16 season, even though there were glimpses of his quality. One of such performances was against FC Midtjylland in the UEFA Europa League, where he produced one of the most thrilling performances ever seen by a winger in the competition, completely ripping apart the opposing right-back.
Yet, with the sacking of Louis van Gaal, the manager who had trusted him so much, in both the 2014 World Cup and during the course of the 2015/16 season, Memphis did not even manage to get a chance with the appointment of Jose Mourinho, who from the off seemed to dislike the winger. He would often be preferred to other players, such as Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, who may not necessarily be the natural wingers that Memphis Depay really is. This eventually led to Memphis leaving the club in the 2016/17 season's January transfer window, as he secured a move to Olympique Lyon for £17 million, after making just eight appearances during the 2016/17 season.
The Dutchman went on to have a magnificent second half of the season at Lyon, being their creative spark from the wing, scoring five goals in 17 league appearances. The next season, he went on to have an even better run of form, leading the Lyon attack from the front, as he scored an astounding 19 goals in 36 Ligue 1 matches, a record that plenty of strikers would be proud of. This eventually led to him being included in the Ligue 1 Team of the Season, along with there being constant rumours of Manchester United activating their buy-back clause tot bring him back to Old Trafford. However, this move was never really established, and Memphis stayed put at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais.
Once again, he did not manage to retain his excellent form, and is currently having a quite mediocre season at Lyon, scoring just 6 league goals in 27 Ligue 1 matches, often being left on the bench due to his poor run of form. Whilst he did manage to light up some UEFA Champions League nights, including the impressive 2-1 away win to Manchester City in the group stages of the competition, he has yet to consistently showcase his talent to the public this season.
This has not been helped with him making his desire to move on to better things public, saying earlier on in the season that he would like to go "to a club like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain or Bayern Munich," which angered plenty of Lyon fans in the process.
Therefore, the upcoming second-leg against Barcelona will hopefully be Memphis' time to shine once again, with the whole world watching his performance, with it being an extremely difficult test, that could be immensely fruitful for his footballing career. Lyon have been dark horses throughout the UEFA Champions League this season, whilst they have been completely average in the league, hence it is clear that they are targeting a good finish to the European competition.
This is a match that could be season-defining for Lyon, yet it is a much bigger match for Memphis Depay, possibly defining his whole career, with a step-up being imminent.