Lyon's Juninho Confirms Manchester United Have First Option on Memphis Depay

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2019

LYON, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 5: Memphis Depay of Lyon during the UEFA Champions League group G match between Olympique Lyonnais (OL) and SL Benfica at Groupama Stadium on November 5, 2019 in Decines near Lyon, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Lyon sporting director Juninho Pernambucano has confirmed Manchester United will have the first option to buy Memphis Depay if he leaves the club. 

Depay joined Lyon from United in January 2017 after a difficult 18-month spell with the club.

Per Lyon's official website, (h/t the Mirror's Gareth Bicknell), Juninho said:

"Manchester United has the priority if several clubs line up to buy him. But we have not received any offers so far. He is really happy right now in Lyon.

"Rudi [Garcia] will soon make his decision. He is a technical leader. We will discuss an extension of contract by the end of the year."

Depay moved to United from PSV Eindhoven in 2015 at the age of 21.

The Dutchman contributed seven goals in 45 appearances under Louis van Gaal before Jose Mourinho took over as manager for the 2016-17 season.

Depay made just eight appearances under Mourinho, only one of which was a start. He spent just 134 minutes on the pitch, an average of 17 minutes per outing.

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He subsequently joined Lyon, where he has enjoyed a much more successful time. 

Now 25, the forward has made 130 appearances for the club, contributing 50 goals and 42 assists along the way.

He claimed his 50th goal in a 3-1 UEFA Champions League win over Benfica (U.S. and UK only, respectively):

Lyon celebrated the milestone with a look at some of his highlights for the club:

This season, he has 11 goals in 14 appearances, including a goal in each of Lyon's four Champions League games.

Depay has become an important player for Netherlands, too. Since the start of 2018, he's produced 11 goals and as many assists for the national side.

Oranje manager Ronald Koeman suggested it would be beneficial for him to move to a bigger club than Lyon at this point in his career:

Depay's move to Old Trafford may have come too early for him, but he's matured into a much more effective and consistent player than he was with the Red Devils.

United could use more firepower up front, as they let Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez join Inter Milan in the summer without replacing either.

If Depay would be willing to return, he'd likely be a much more successful acquisition a second time around.