Memphis Depay began last season at Barcelona as the star of the show, assisting on the opening day against Real Sociedad and despite barely playing from November onwards, still finishing as joint-top scorer.
This year, you would have to search through the match archives to find much involvement. Memphis has been on the pitch for 4 times, accounting for a combined 131 minutes and scoring once. Since September, he has been injured and has barely been seen, despite the initial diagnosis being for just four weeks.
All signs point to the fact that he will leave sooner rather than later, with his contract expiring next summer. Yet the supposed clear option for Memphis was to head to Juventus, however the Old Lady signed Arkadiusz Milik instead. So here are his possible options:
There was fleeting interest in the summer from United, where Erik ten Hag would be able to bring in a fellow Dutchman. With Cristiano Ronaldo likely on the way out, United may wish to strengthen their attack with Memphis.
The Dutch forward has been insistent he will only leave Barcelona for a ‘top club’ and a return to Old Trafford would fit the bill.
The Magpies could bring in a quality option into their forward line as Newcastle continue their efforts to make smart recruitment choices rather than flashy signings.
Memphis would no doubt improve the quality and money is unlikely to be an issue. However Newcastle have struggled to attract some players to the North-East of England and with no European football, Memphis may consider it too much of step down, no matter their trajectory.
It would have to be on a free and it would likely mean a significant reduction in wages, but Memphis has been linked to a return to Lyon.
This option does seem far less likely. The Dutch forward left Lyon to test himself at a more ambitious club and this would somewhat be admitting defeat. However Lyon is the one place that have both valued Memphis and extracted the best out of him since he first moved to United. The chances are slim, but if no other options present themselves, Memphis may return to Ligue 1.
Once again, the idea of a top club must be recalled as the chief reason for which this deal probably won’t happen.
Barcelona are currently top of La Liga, while Sevilla are in the relegation zone. While it’s unlikely that remains the case, it is also an uphill battle for Sevilla to make European football again next season.
Nevertheless, Sporting Director Monchi and manager Jorge Sampaoli are supposedly resolved to do all in their power to talk Memphis into the move. He would no doubt become the star in Nervion and could even become a cult hero, but it would involve a lowering of aspirations.
Staying at the Blaugrana seems unlikely, but the same could be said last summer.
Memphis will refuse to leave on a free transfer unless he has a new club lined up and that may well keep him at Camp Nou once again, if he cannot find an offer he deems attractive enough. As he has shown, he is willing to remain until the end of his contract unless that offer arrives.
However Barcelona will do what they can to shift Memphis onwards. Needing to reduce their wage bill in order to sign a much-desired right-back, Memphis stands out as a player surplus to requirements and holding onto a large salary.
If he does stay, he could well be useful on the pitch, but knowing his contract is running down, he will always be the last option for Xavi Hernandez. Unless Xavi sees Memphis’ involvement as the key to unlocking a defence or there is an injury crisis, he would likely be starved of minutes again.