Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has revealed that Memphis Depay made it clear he wants to leave the club two months ago.
The Dutchman made the switch to Old Trafford in the summer of 2015 with a reputation as one of the most exciting young players in European football. However, his first season was a struggle and his stock has regressed even further since Mourinho arrived at the club.
The manager outlined the reasons why he’s not used the 22-year-old as of late, per Mark Ogden of ESPN FC:
In the past couple of months, my decisions in relation to Memphis were influenced by the feelings and information that he would like to leave in January and that we were going to have a real offer that we would be willing to accept.
That obviously influences me. We had this conversation with a few players and we left things very, very clear. If I know, if I have the feeling that a player is leaving, I have to give chances to and develop other players.
According to Ogden, both Roma and Everton are set to make an offer for Depay when the January window opens. Mourinho suggested that while he hasn’t been involved, the forward is “super polite, super professional and works really hard.”
With Mourinho confirming to the press on Friday that goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is the only player who will move on loan midseason, per the club’s official website, a permanent departure looks on the cards for Depay from Old Trafford.
That may not be a bad thing for the player, though. Per OptaJoe, he’s hardly featured in the top flight so far this season:
31 – Morgan Schneiderlin (11) and Memphis Depay (20) have played a combined 31 Premier League minutes this season. Surplus.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 23, 2016
There’s undoubtedly talent to harness in Depay, and during his time at PSV Eindhoven he looked to be a star in the making.
Perhaps a move to a club less high profile than United where there may be a little less scrutiny on him can be a catalyst for some improved form, while a different manager could potentially get a tune out of the winger. But ultimately, the responsibility rests with the Dutchman to get his career back on track.
Nelson Semedo Commits to Benfica
Benfica right-back Nelson Semedo has insisted he’s keen to stay at the club for a long time yet amid speculation linking him with a move to Manchester United.
“You can rest easy,” he told journalists when asked about the transfer talk, per Alex Porter of the Manchester Evening News. “I’m completely focused on Benfica and I’m hoping to continue here for many years to come.”
Semedo has been in tremendous form for Benfica this season. Per Porter, he’s drawn comparisons with Juventus full-back Dani Alves; here’s a look at why:
The most striking part of Semedo’s game is his willingness to get forward. The 23-year-old is so direct and quick in possession, meaning he’s difficult to contain on the overlap. While his final ball can be a little hit and miss, the Portugal international is relentless in his intent to make something happen in the final third.
Additionally, per journalist Tom Kundert, Semedo has clearly been working hard on other areas of his game:
Nelson Semedo has improved his defending so much in 18 months. The complete full-back.
— Tom Kundert (@PortuGoal1) December 11, 2016
United could arguably do with another right-back, with Antonio Valencia currently Mourinho’s first choice in the position.
Stylistically, Semedo would bring plenty of similar traits to the role and offers a lot more longevity at 23. However, he seems keen to continue his development in Lisbon for the time being and based on the progression made this season, it’s difficult to argue with that assessment.