Barcelona are “close” to completing a $30 million (€25m) deal to bring in Netherlands international Memphis Depay from French side Lyon. The 26-year-old is expected to replace Luis Suarez who has agreed a move to Juventus.
According to La Vanguardia, the 26-year-old “will become the first signing of the Ronald Koeman era,” and his arrival has been an “express request” from the Dutch coach.
Depay is the Lyon captain but is now into the final year of his contract with the Ligue 1 side and has not renewed, meaning he will be available at an affordable price. He made his name as a left-winger but has shone as a No. 9 for the Netherlands national team and Lyon.
Koeman knows Depay well from working with him as the Netherlands coach before he signed for Barcelona. The 26-year-old scored 15 times in 22 appearances for Lyon in 2019-20 and was part of the team that made it to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
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Memphis Dreaming of Barcelona?
Depay has been asked about rumored interest from Barcelona and said that he could only “dream” of big clubs currently, insisting he was fully focused on club side Lyon.
However, the 26-year-old did admit he had a good relationship with Koeman and spoke about how the coach paid him a visit to check on his progress when he was recovering from a recent cruciate ligament injury.
“I’m actually focused here on Lyon. I’m glad that I’m back, I didn’t speak with Koeman yet. You know he’s been involved in my recovery, coming to Rome to see me, when I was training in Holland he came to see me so the relationship is good anyway.
“Now obviously he is coach of Barcelona, and me personally I’m focused on Lyon because I’m here right now. I can dream of big clubs and we will see what happens, but for the moment I’m a player here and I’m taking great responsibility I think.”
Lyon finished last season down in seventh place in Ligue 1, meaning Rudi Garcia’s side will not play Champions League football in 2020-21. The opportunity of moving to a club to play in Europe’s top competition for a coach he knows well is likely to prove a temptation for Depay.
Lyon Discuss Depay Sale
Lyon are unlikely to want to sell one of their key players but will know that his contract situation means he can currently walk away for free next summer. Sporting director Juninho is already aware of interest in Depay, as well as team-mates Houssem Aouar and Moussa Dembele, and spoke about the club’s plans for the trio.
“It is not planned to sell Houssem, Memphis and Moussa at the same time. If that happened, we would look for players of the same level on the market. The departure of the three together is not planned. [But] they attract the market.
“Memphis was unfortunately injured. We tried to extend his contract, the president did everything but he did not want to discuss during this period. In a year, he will be free. If we lose quality players, and three is almost impossible, [then] we already have names to replace them. Players of the same level.”
Yet Depay will face stiff competition for a place at Barcelona if he does make the move this summer. The club already have Lionel Messi, Ansu Fati, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, and Francisco Trincao as options in attack for next season.