Last Saturday, PSV Eindhoven demolished NAC Breda 6-1 in their second Eredivisie league match of the season. Memphis Depay, who was the best man on the pitch by some distance, delivered an assist and scored twice, taking his 2014-15 goal tally up to five in total.
Throughout the match, it was clear that Depay was oozing with confidence. The winger had just returned from holiday after a stunning performance during the World Cup.
In Brazil, Depay had scored twice, against Chile and—significantly—against Australia, in the Netherlands’ narrow 3-2 win. These weren’t lucky goals. They were the product of intelligent play, and most importantly, they made it clear Depay was able to hold his own against some of the world’s best footballers.
Mentally, as well as physically, the 20-year-old seemed unshakable, expertly using his shoulders to squeeze himself past the opposition’s defence before curving the ball toward goal.
Young players often falter when the pressure is on and they’re confronted with opponents several levels above the level of football they’re used to, but this was the mark of a mature player. There was no intimidating Depay: It wasn’t possible to shove him aside, both in a literal and in a metaphorical sense.
This was a player who was fully confident and prepared.
No wonder, then, that Depay has now outgrown the Eredivisie. Having returned from Brazil, experienced and with his sights now possibly set on achieving the highest honours, Depay seems a touch above the opponents he is confronted with when playing for PSV—not unlike what Kevin Strootman experienced the year before, prior to his move to AS Roma.
Rumours have linked Depay to several clubs this summer, but as was reported by Darren Lewis of the Mirror, Tottenham Hotspur are lining up a bid. If Spurs’ interest is genuine, it would be wise of Depay to seriously consider making the move.
There’s a clear difference between the youngster, full of potential but inexperienced and relatively weak, and the fully grown stars. Think of a player like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who arrived at Ajax in 2001 as a lightweight rookie, but who achieved demigod status a few years later in Italy.
Depay has not reached that status yet, but if one thing has become clear, it’s that he’ll need to move on from PSV to ever get there. Well on his way to achieving greatness, Depay has learned all there is to learn in the Eredivisie, and he must go to a bigger league to grow even further.
Tottenham Hotspur, who have a reputation for developing talent and giving highly rated young players that final push toward excellence, could be the perfect destination for Depay.
He’s scoring goal after goal in the Eredivisie. He seems determined. Now, let’s see what he can do in the Premier League.