Depay to Man Utd first steps, deal criteria and likely shirt number

ten Hag comments on Man Utd's January transfer plans

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Manchester United are being linked with Memphis Depay as they seek a striker this January. The Red Devils are yet to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, who left the club in December following his bombshell interview with Piers Morgan. And it seems as though the 28-year-old is very much on the Red Devils’ radar, six years after he was shown the door at Old Trafford.

Manchester United know they need a striker to replace Ronaldo.

They’d planned for the season expecting the 37-year-old to still be with them until May, only for his interview with Morgan to throw a spanner into the works.

Ronaldo was cut loose by United, who felt they had no choice but to show the Portugal international the door given how he’d criticised everyone from Erik ten Hag to the Glazers.

Many players, ranging from Joao Felix to Alvaro Morata, have been linked with moves to Old Trafford in the time since.

Yet Depay is one name that keeps popping up. Now, Express Sport will now take a look at everything we know about a potential deal for the forward.

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First steps taken

On Tuesday, it emerged United had expressed interest in Depay as they look to bring him back to Old Trafford.

However, they’re not the only club eyeing the 28-year-old amid uncertainty over his Barcelona future.

Arsenal are also eyeing Depay, with Mikel Arteta keen to land a temporary replacement for Gabriel Jesus – who is currently sidelined through injury.

And Chelsea have also emerged as potential suitors, at a time where Graham Potter is hoping to bring in an upgrade on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

United’s need is arguably the greatest, however, with Anthony Martial the only established and natural No 9 in their squad at present.

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Criteria for deal

According to Sport, Depay is frustrated at Barcelona having struggled for regular action at the Nou Camp this term.

Yet while he’s open to leaving Catalonia behind, the Netherlands international reportedly wants to ‘maintain his salary’ – which is believed to be worth roughly £170,000-a-week.

Barcelona, for their part, would rather let Depay go permanently than on loan given he’s got just six months left on his contract.

However, given Depay wants to keep his wages, it’s possible they’ll have to perform a U-turn on their current stance.

United would be open to having the player back at M16 but, with funds in short supply, a loan deal would suit them best.

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Likely shirt number

Depay previously wore the No 7 during his first spell at United, toiling with it on his back under Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.

But given the jersey is vacant, it’s feasible he’ll take it on again should a return take place.

The No 11 is also a consideration, too. Last worn by Mason Greenwood, it’s effectively vacant these days as well.

Depay wears the No 14 at Barcelona at present, having been forced to give up the No 9 shirt following the summer arrival of Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich.

Depay slammed United

While Depay could return to United, he did take aim at the club in 2021 by saying he wasn’t given enough chances.

“I’ve thought a lot about why it went wrong,” said the forward. “The first season I had to adapt and it didn’t go well compared to my time at PSV.

“I lost a bit of confidence and I lost the confidence of Van Gaal and his staff. It was hard for me. The following season I felt like I had more experience, but they changed the coach.

“Jose Mourinho came and I fought to get into the team but I think the idea of giving me a chance was never in his head. He never gave me an opportunity. Never.

“I went to his office but it changed nothing. It was a very difficult period, I felt that I was training well and the players themselves did not understand it.

“Pogba and Zlatan told me: ‘Why don’t you ever play?’ For me that was the confirmation that I had no chance. And I realised that I didn’t want to be in a big club without playing.”

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