Manchester United have first refusal on re-signing Memphis Depay, according to Lyon sporting director Juninho.
The Netherlands international made 53 appearances for the Red Devils following his arrival from PSV in 2015 but scored just seven goals and struggled to really make an impact on the first team.
Could Depay return to the Premier League? Five things to know…
- Memphis Depay joined Manchester United from PSV in 2015.
- But he scored just seven goals in 53 games before moving on to Lyon in 2017.
- He’s since become a vital player for both Lyon and the Netherlands.
- His improved form now sees him linked with Tottenham.
- But Lyon sporting director Juninho admits United have first refusal on Depay’s transfer.
Depay moved to Lyon in January 2017 and has transformed his fortunes, scoring 50 goals in 130 games so far, while he’s also become a key member of the Dutch national team, bagging 14 goals in 23 caps since 2017.
As such, the 25-year-old is now being linked with a £50m move to Tottenham Hotspur, who are desperately seeking to inject more quality into their squad after a slow start to the Premier League season which has left them in 14th place.
Depay has tried his best to keep the rumour mill quiet, claiming he’s just focusing on the here and now.
“I don’t want to talk about that. I don’t want to talk about rumours that I know nothing about,” he told Voetbal Primeur.
“We leave it in the corridors. I am focused on a strong season so far.”
But he did concede that he wouldn’t rule out a return to the Premier League, adding: “It’s a very nice competition. It’s up to the club that is interested.
“I belong in a team that plays good football and can play around me, so that I can do my thing. I never rule it out.”
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However, a potential stumbling block for Spurs could be the fact that United have first priority to buy back Depay, should Lyon look to sell their star forward.
“It’s true that Manchester United have a priority to buy back Memphis,” Juninho told OLTV. “These things exist in football. But until now, we’ve not received anything on Memphis.”
Depay and Co vital to Lyon title challenge, says Juninho
Lyon haven’t won a Ligue 1 title since 2007/08 and have endured a tough start to the new season, winning just four of their 13 games so far to sit 14th in the table.
Depay’s current contract runs until 2021 and although Juninho concedes that keeping hold of the likes of him and Moussa Dembele will be “difficult”, he feels it is vital the club does so in order to return to the elite in France.
“Each time there’s only a year left on a contract, the conversation over a renewal becomes rather difficult,” he said. “But I think that he’s really happy in Lyon at the moment.
“It’s also the same with Moussa Dembele, but the president and those that know football are conscious that, if you want to start winning titles again, to fight in the Champions League and in Ligue 1, it’s important to keep players like that in the squad for a long time.
“For the moment, nothing is being done concerning Memphis. We’ll start discussing a contract extension by the end of the year.”