When Manchester United palmed Liverpool off in the battle to sign Memphis Depay from PSV last summer, smug Red Devils expected great things of Holland’s freshly-crowned footballer of the year.
Although the early signs reflected his billing, Depay’s first season at Old Trafford tailed off into virtual anonymity and a change of managers in the summer hasn’t remedied the situation.
The 22-year-old’s involvement has been fleeting to put it mildly. He’s made only three substitute appearances in the Premier League under Jose Mourinho (equalling a grand total of 12 minutes), and is now showing genuine signs of agitation at the situation.
Speaking to Dutch press Depay said: “A supporting role is not for me. I’m not a player who is happy with the fact that he is under contract with Manchester United. This is my dream club, but I want to play.”
Unfortunately for the former Eindhoven man, barring injury to others his immediate future looks to be one where Premier League starts will continue to come at a premium.
In front of him in United’s attacking pecking order are fellow young guns Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial, while more experienced heads in Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Henrikh Mkhitaryan form another obstructive layer.
A move away in January could be Depay’s best manoeuvre and looking around at the other top English clubs, one stands out in terms of possible doorways.
Chelsea’s wide-forward stocks are not the leanest, but some members of the Blues’ attack line do have serious question marks hanging over them.
Pedro has never looked particularly comfortable since departing Barcelona and has often been linked with moves back to Spain, while Oscar and even Eden Hazard’s form has been severely scrutinised.
That Antonio Conte is granting Victor Moses top-flight starts after a transient time as a Chelsea player on various loans, is an indication that the Italian is yet to be convinced by his options.
If Depay had wishes to remain in English football, then a switch to Stamford Bridge appears to breed potential on paper at least.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.