Transfers: Why Memphis Depay Is the Ideal Move for Tottenham Hotspur

Sam Rooke@@SamRooke89Featured ColumnistAugust 6, 2014

Netherlands' Memphis Depay (21) celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the group B World Cup soccer match between the Netherlands and Chile at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, June 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Thanassis Stavrakis/Associated Press

Memphis Depay was one of the breakout stars of the 2014 World Cup. The Netherlands winger scored the winning goal against Australia as a substitute to announce himself on football's greatest stage. 

On Sunday, Depay admitted that he believes he has outgrown PSV Eindhoven and the Eredivisie. The London Evening Standard revealed Wednesday that that Spurs have made a €20 million bid. With three years remaining on his current deal, PSV are right to expect such a significant fee.

This would be an ambitious move for Spurs given that Manchester United have also been heavily linked with Depay, per the Daily Star's Jamie Anderson. 

Tottenham have shrewdly filled their key positions of need this summer. The signing of Ben Davies finally gives Spurs' defence balance while the acquisitions of Eric Dier and Michel Vorm add strength in depth at centre-back and goalkeeper, respectively. 

Spurs' only real need now is to reinforce their attack.

Whether Mauricio Pochettino sticks with the 4-2-3-1 shape that he has deployed in pre-season or reverts to the 4-3-3 that he favoured at Southampton, his options in support of the central striker are limited.

Depay, a right-footed left winger with great pace and shooting power, would give Spurs an option that they currently lack. More of a genuine wide player than Nacer Chadli and possessing an explosive power far beyond Aaron Lennon, Depay would make Spurs a more dangerous team.

Built low to the ground, Depay is stronger than he looks and adept at bouncing off defenders and retaining possession in a similar way to Chelsea's Eden Hazard. The power in Depay's legs is astonishing for a player so young.

Peter Dejong/Associated Press

His pace and willingness to attack from the wide areas would keep opposing defences stretched and allow Spurs' other attackers the space to express themselves. He is also adept at slipping a reverse pass through the defensive line. He and Roberto Soldado could form a devastating pair. 

While he would not be a likely starter for Spurs, at least initally, Depay would be a dangerous weapon for Pochettino to unleash from the bench. 

Depay was a regular goalscorer for PSV last season, with 12 in the Eredivisie and two more in European competition but, in a league known for prolific scorers, this is not an outstanding return. Ruud van Nistelrooy, an unfair comparison perhaps, scored 32 in 33 games in his last full season for PSV. 

Of course, Van Nistelrooy was 24 years old in that season, 25 when he made the move to Manchester United—and this is key. Depay is young. Very young. A year younger than Paul Pogba and three years younger than Hazard.

At just 20, he is right to suggest that it is time to move on from PSV, and Tottenham is the ideal next step. 

Peter Dejong/Associated Press

Spurs bought Wayne Routledge from Crystal Palace at 20 and proceeded to bungle his development so badly that he had to move down to the Championship with QPR to revive his career. 

But Tottenham is no longer a club that accrues talented youngsters only to stifle their development. Mauricio Pochettino has a well-earned reputation for improving young players. He is a real coach and not just a manager. 

The examples of Gareth Bale and Luka Modric, who signed as young players with great potential and blossomed into stars before moving to Real Madrid, should also serve to underline Tottenham's potential as something of a finishing school. 

That is exactly what Depay needs. He is not yet worth the reported €20 million fee. He is exceptionally well developed for a 20-year-old but is not yet ready to start routinely in the Premier League. Under Pochettino's guidance at Tottenham, Depay could follow in the footsteps of Bale and Modric and grow into a world-class player.

His pace and shooting power are well known from his cameos in Brazil. He is also capable of delivering devastating free-kicks. 

Despite his obvious quality, Depay does have significant weaknesses.

His left foot is essentially decorative. He is almost entirely one-footed—and that limitation will be exposed by Premier League defenders—and his unrefined close control sees him lose possession more often that he should. He is also selfish with the ball. While this is not necessarily a bad quality, it leads him to often ignore better positioned teammates in favour of a speculative shot. 

Unusually for a Dutch player, his movement without the ball is also lacking. He has a tendency to play a pass and admire it instead of shifting his position. 

Depay has immense potential. He echoes his PSV predecessor Arjen Robben. While he lacks Robben's exceptional close control and poise, he is stylistically similar. 

EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 20:  Memphis Depay of PSV in action during the UEFA Champions League Play-off First Leg match between PSV Eindhoven and AC Milan at PSV Stadion on August 20, 2013 in Eindhoven, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Ge
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Given time to develop alongside the 22-year-old Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela, Depay could grow into a fantastic player. Spurs would be taking something of a gamble on a player so young, but his performances for the Netherlands should assuage some of that doubt. 

Should he join, Spurs would possess a potentially lethal attacking line, and he would be in the perfect situation to smooth out his rough edges, grow as a player and become a Premier League star. 


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