After late scrambling for signings in the past two years, Manchester United have signaled their intent to get their transfer business done early this summer by agreeing on a deal, thought to be worth 30 million euros (£22.3 million), to sign Dutch starlet Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven. While the transfer window has yet to open, both clubs revealed on Thursday that a fee and personal terms had been arranged to take the 21-year-old winger to Old Trafford.
“Manchester United has reached agreement with PSV Eindhoven and Memphis Depay for the player's transfer, subject to a medical, once the transfer window opens in June,” read a statement on the Manchester United website.
Depay has been in high demand having fired PSV to the Eredivisie title with a league-high 21 goals. The pacey forward also caught the eye in last year’s World Cup when scoring twice for a Netherlands side coached by current United boss Louis van Gaal. While he was linked to many of Europe’s top clubs, Depay stated that he was delighted to have committed his future to the Premier League giants.
“It was an exciting and pretty hectic period, and to have a choice between so many top clubs doesn't make it any easier,” he said in an interview with his representatives SEG. “For me, Manchester United is an absolute dream club, so I didn't need any convincing of the guys who already play at Manchester United.”
There is unlikely to be any letup from United’s hierarchy as they look to assemble a squad capable of challenging for the Premier League title and in the Champions League next season. Still, a deal for Depay would appear to end the club’s efforts to lure Welsh winger Gareth Bale from Real Madrid. The world’s most expensive player has been frequently linked with a transfer to Old Trafford during his struggles to make an impact in Madrid this season. After earning criticism for his performance during the Champions League semifinal first leg defeat to Juventus this week, that speculation resurfaced in earnest. However, Bale’s agent continues to refute any suggestion that the former Tottenham star would want to leave the Bernabeu.
“Why would he look to go elsewhere?” Jonathan Barnett refuted to Sky Sports. “Real Madrid are the number one club in the world. There's always interest in him - but as far as we are concerned he'll be at Real Madrid next summer.”
The fact that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez staked so much on signing Bale just two years ago means it remains unlikely that he will be moving on so soon. And by all indications Bale remains determined to prove that he can cut it at the Spanish giants.
There are other notable players also linked to Old Trafford. Manchester United would appear to have a less complex task securing the signings of Borussia Dortmund duo Ilkay Gundogan and Mats Hummels. It has already been revealed that Gundogan will not be staying with Dortmund beyond the end of his contract in 2016, and German tabloid Bild reports that it is “unlikely” that he will still be around for next season. However, while it has been claimed by other outlets that United are close to a deal, Bild states that Manchester City and Arsenal are also pursuing the midfielder.
Gundogan could well be seen as an alternative to Michael Carrick, who will turns 34 in late July, and has been hampered by injury problems this campaign. Hummels, meanwhile, is thought to be a long-time target to add some real quality to the center of United’s defense. The World Cup winner has revealed in recent months that he will consider his future at the end of the season following Dortmund’s failure to qualify for the Champions League. Yet the upcoming change of manager at the club, with Jürgen Klopp stepping down and Thomas Tuchel taking the reins, could change matters, according to ESPN among others. With Hummel’s contract running until 2017, Dortmund could decide to frustrate Manchester United and hang onto the center-back for another season.