Barcelona: Depay has quality but he is compatible with Messi?
The Dutch forward showed his quality at Euro 2020 but some observers have cast doubts on whether he will fit in at Barcelona and with Messi.
Memphis Depay exits Euro 2020 after having left a few fleeting glimpse of what he promised. The Netherlands bowed out at the Last 16 stage and Barcelona's summer signing, who had 12 chances, two goals and an assist during the tournament, was unable to bring the team what they needed to see off the Czech Republic. He received fierce criticism from the press, and even from from former players like Ruud Gullit. He didn't lead the Dutch attack as many had hoped.
Barça are now waiting until Depay returns from his holidays so that they can formally present him in July. He signed a two-year deal; his performances at the Euros however, have left some members of staff with doubts - including those who were excited when the deal went through. The former Olympique Lyon player has shown striking characteristics such as his movement in attack, his ability to back with his back to goal (he provoked eight fouls from such moves at Euro 2020), he is able to turn and change direction with great dexterity to instigate moves and his is an explosive player in tight spaces with an ability to play with the ball close to his feet. He's also a prolific scorer. Depay had a 72% success rate in passes (126 from 171); of those 126, 118 were short or medium distance passes. So he is a player who prefers to play it short rather than long.
But there have also been doubts raised about Depay - in particular about how he will interact and gel with Messi. In many games, he started out playing through the middle - something he won't be able to do when he stars playing with Messi. He is a player who starts moves, rather than one who is looking to run into spaces. That will also be impossible when he is alongside Messi. Depay also takes free-kicks, an area which is Messi's speciality...
Koeman needs to make sure the Dutch forward knows exactly what his role within the team is right from Day One; and explain to him that it is going to be very different from the one he had at Lyon and with the national team over the past few years. Depay will no longer be the reference in attack, and will have a more of an accompanying role. The Netherland's exit from Euro 2020 has generated a few queries at Barcelona about how the player.will fit in.
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