Atletico Madrid sign Barcelona forward Memphis Depay
Atletico Madrid have signed Dutch forward Memphis Depay from Barcelona, for an initial €3 million fee that could rise to €4 million if certain conditions are met. The 28-year-old joins on a two-and-a-half-year deal.
The deal also includes a preferential but not mandatory option for Barcelona to buy Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco in the future, for a reported €20 million. Carrasco wanted to leave this January transfer window after Atletico did not renew his contract.
Depay only played four games this season for Barcelona, scoring one goal. He had a strong start to his career at Barcelona, scoring 12 league goals in his first season after joining in 2021 from Lyon. After the arrival of new manager Xavi, he has fallen down the pecking order and has struggled with injuries.
Atletico have been looking for attacking reinforcements after sending Joao Felix on loan to Chelsea and selling Matheus Cunha to Wolves. Diego Simeone is looking forward to helping Depay regain his form.
“A player that has a lot of enthusiasm has arrived,” Simeone said. “He is eager to rediscover his best form. “We are working so that we can find the player he was at Lyon, where he showed his physical strength and his abilities. We will work with him to help him reach his best form and that he, in return, can give us what we want from him.”
“He can play as a forward or as a second striker. I see him similar to [former Atletico forward Diego] Costa, who started out as a striker but ended up forward because of his explosive play, his strength and his good finish. Memphis has proved, especially in France, and in his first year at Barca that he has good numbers.”Quote via ESPN
The deal suits both clubs. Atletico have only scored 24 goals in 17 La Liga games this season. Atletico need attacking talent and Depay has that. In his last season at Lyon, he created 52 chances and registered 12 assists. He is constantly making things happen in the final third with his intelligence and vision. He is also excellent in transition, a trait that suits Simeone’s counter-attacking style well.
Depay will most likely start alongside Antoine Griezmann, and their intelligence and movement should cause havoc for opposing defenses. As shown by his performances for the Netherlands in the World Cup, Depay can play as the more advanced striker in a front two, which suits Griezmann’s tendency to drop deeper and create.
This deal works for Barcelona as they simply were not playing him. He did not fit into Xavi’s 4-3-3, and they get to shift a large wage off their bill. Barcelona has well-documented financial struggles, and this deal was needed to ease the strain.
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