7 Aug 2015

Redknapp warns: 'Unbelievable' £30m attacker could be 'another Ryan Babel' and fail at Man Utd

At Anfield, losing out on top transfer targets is something of an annual tradition, and for Liverpool, Memphis Depay is this year's Alexis Sanchez. i.e. a player who rejected the Reds after being perpetually 'close' to a transfer for over a year. LFC ended up with Roberto Firmino instead (which seems like a pretty fair trade-off), but will Depay turn out to be the proverbial 'one that got away'? (again). Ex-Red Jamie Redknapp doesn't seem to think so, and suggests that the young attacker may even struggle in the Premier League.

In April, The Mirror (and 'sources in Eindhoven) claimed that:

* Depay flew to the UK for secret talks with Liverpool, and met with Ian Ayre 'in a hotel close to the airport'.

* The Dutch attacker was 'hugely impressed' by Liverpool’s determination to sign him, and informed Ayre that he preferred a move to Liverpool over Manchester United.

Well, despite Depay's alleged preference, Liverpool somehow contrived to screw things up, and the young attacker ended up at Old Trafford in a £30m deal.

Since then, Depay - hailed last month by Bastien Schweinsteiger as an 'unbelievable talent' - has scored only one goal in four pre-season games for Man United, and Redknapp is not convinced that he what it takes to take the Premier League by storm.

In his column for The Daily Mail today, he mused:

"He [Depay] could be another Ryan Babel, who came to Liverpool with promise and confidence but couldn’t hack it. The road from Holland is littered with players who couldn’t match their form from the Dutch League.

"Manchester United is a different ball game. He won’t get so many free kicks and penalties for starters".

As much I'd love to see Depay fail miserably at Man United, to suggest that he'll go the same way as Babel is wishful thinking in the extreme, and there's just nothing in his history to suggest that's going to happen.

Prior to his Anfield move, Babel was no way near as prolific or accomplished as Depay:

* In his final season at Ajax, Babel grabbed 14 goals/assists in 43 apps. Last season, Depay smashed in 36 goals/assists in 40 apps, which is a rather significant difference.

* In 7 years at Ajax and Liverpool, Babel contributed 86 goals/assists in 279 apps. Depay already has 79 goals/assists in 3 complete seasons at Eindhoven.

* Before his Liverpool move, Babel made little impression on the (competitive) international stage, but Depay performed impressively at last year's World Cup.

Redknapp is right about one thing: lots of prolific Eredivise players have failed to deliver in the Premier League, but Depay has the pedigree, talent, and end product to be a success in English football.

Of course, as I do with all Man United players, I'll be rooting for Depay to crash and burn at Old Trafford.

Hopefully, he'll be more Angel Di Maria than Ryan Giggs, and with any luck, Roberto Firmino will emerge as the better transfer.

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Author: Jaimie K


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