The Memphis Depay transfer saga looks to finally be over. His disappointing spell at Barcelona seems to be at an end, with a move to Atletico Madrid close to being finalised.
The Dutchman has had a difficult second season at Barca, after having an okay start to life at the club in his first campaign. Much was expected of Depay when he joined Barca from Lyon in the summer of 2021, but he has largely failed to live up to that hype.
He will now try to get his career back on track at Atleti under Diego Simeone. The Argentine will be hopeful that Depay can help solve the club’s woes in attack. With just 24 goals being scored across their first 17 La Liga matches, Atleti have been toothless in attack, and Simeone will be banking on Depay to solve this problem.
Compared to Barcelona, playing at Atleti could be a blessing for Depay. Although Los Rojiblancos are a massive club in their own right, playing at Barca comes with an extra level of scrunity, which is something that he has struggled with during his time at Catalonia. Ruud Gullit highlighted that Depay had the same problem at Manchester United, so Atleti may suit him more than Barcelona did.
In terms of setup, Simeone’s two striker systems could suit Depay more than Xavi Hernandez’s 4-3-3. The Argentine will typically operates a 4-4-2 for Atleti, and with Depay as one of the two forwards, this could be good for the club. The Dutchman’s linkup with Antoine Griezmann is an exciting prospect, with the two both able to play as dynamic forwards which could cause opposition teams all sorts of problems.
Depay has been used to the 4-3-3 formation, having also played as the lone striker at Lyon during his final season at the French giants, but he struggled to properly adapt to Xavi’s style of play. Simeone’s setup could allow Depay more freedom in his role.
In the short term, the signing could be a shrewd one for Atleti. Depay showed bright spells during his first season at Barcelona, and he certainly has the ability to score goals in Spain. With just La Liga to focus on for the Dutchman (he will be cup-tied in the Copa having played against Intercity for Barca), he may settle faster at the club, which could be valuable as Atleti bid to finish in the top four in order to secure Champions League football for next season.
For just €4m, it is a cheap deal for Atletico Madrid. Whether Depay will be a success during his time at the club remains to be seen, but he has the ability to be a big player under Diego Simeone.