Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Erik ten Hag eyes Arsenal, Newcastle target with contact made as Barca consider drastic measures for former Man Utd flop

Barcelona players Memphis Depay and Ousmane Dembele

Manchester United have reportedly joined the race to sign their former player Memphis Depay with Barcelona eager to get him off their books in January.

Depay is currently in his second season with Barca after joining on a free transfer in the summer of 2021. The Netherlands international was not a regular last term but still managed to score 13 goals from 38 appearances in all competitions. He enjoyed 20 starts among 28 LaLiga outings but it has been a different story this time around.

Hampered by a hamstring injury picked up at the end of September, the Dutchman has played just twice in the Spanish top flight. But he did manage to win selection for Louis van Gaal’s World Cup squad.

It seems as though the Qatar showpiece may be the perfect platform for the forward to put himself in the shop window.

And Depay admitted his future is very much up in the air at a press conference prior to the World Cup.

The Gunners have been linked, with Mikel Arteta set to strengthen his table-topping side in January.

Journalist Florian Plettenberg has now added Manchester United to the list of suitors. And it appears as though Barca will do anything to get the man with 42 Netherlands goals off the payroll.

“He is also on the list of #MUFC,” he tweeted. “We‘ve been told that Ten Hag can really imagine bringing him back.

“There is contact between all parties. Barca would even terminate the contract, desperately wants to save the salary.”

Depay in line for Premier League return

Depay cut his teeth with PSV in his homeland, enjoying 124 outings and scoring 50 goals in all competitions.

A move overseas seemed inevitable and United took a punt in the summer of 2015. Depay arrived to much fanfare but his Old Trafford career failed to ignite.

With just two league goals from 29 top-flight outings in 2015-2016, he was barely used the following campaign.

And with only 20 minutes of Premier League football to his name, the frustrated star left for Lyon in January 2017.

And it was while he was with the Ligue 1 outfit that Depay proved he was far from a spent force. He notched 76 goals from 178 appearances in all competitions, earning links to many clubs.

The former Sparta Rotterdam youth player then overcame a serious cruciate ligament injury to bag 22 goals in 2020-21.

Barca took note and landed him as a free agent but it has not been a total success at the Nou Camp.

Newcastle in picture for Depay swoop

Other clubs will doubtless enter the race for Depay’s signature if the Catalans do let him leave. Newcastle have been linked while Sevilla are also said to be on the case.

But the Magpies’ financial strength sees them ahead of the LaLiga club in the battle for Depay.

They are also flying high in the Premier League, with a superb run of form seeing them sit third ahead of the World Cup break.

The Tynesiders are now an attractive prospect, with Eddie Howe pulling the strings.

The lure of the Theatre of Dreams might be hard to resist if United do firm up their interest, however.

But his previous bad experience of failure in Manchester might dent their chances of sealing his capture.

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