Depay anticipates January interest after failed Barca transfer

By Sports Desk October 11, 2020

Memphis Depay expects clubs to come calling in January after seeing a move to Barcelona scuppered in the last transfer window.

The Lyon striker appeared set to reunite with his former Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman at the Blaugrana and personal terms had already been agreed.

However, a deal between the two teams could not be struck, with Depay admitting "certain rules" prevented him from joining Barcelona.

The 26-year-old's contract expires at the end of next season, though, and he believes that makes him an intriguing prospect for potential buyers once the window reopens.

"I’m 26 and my transfer will cost next to nothing," he told BN DeStem.

"So we can expect that clubs will show an interest.

"It'll be January soon. We'll have to see how things are going.

"Not that I will definitely be leaving, but the possibility of clubs showing up soon is probably greater."

It is possible that Barca will renew their interest given Koeman was unsuccessful in trying to bring in a striker to replace Luis Suarez following his departure for Atletico Madrid.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has previously suggested that Depay will do everything possible to try and force through a move to Barca in the new year.

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    Still, that result turned out to be an aberration. Three months on, Atleti head into Sunday's game at the Wanda Metropolitano with a five-point lead over Real Madrid and Barca at the top of the table, and with a game in hand. Suarez, meanwhile, has scored 11 of his 16 LaLiga goals this term since that chastening day at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.

    Suarez's form for Atleti has made a complete mockery of Barca's decision to cast him aside last year, the suggestion the striker was "too old" to be relied upon looking more foolish by the week as he spearheads their charge for a first league title since 2014.

    Indeed, given his record against Madrid and the state of the league table, this weekend could be the moment Suarez tips the balance of the title race inexorably in Atletico's favour.

    OLD HABITS

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    "That's what I did not like," he told France Football. "If I hadn't done anything at a club like Barca for three or four seasons, I would have understood.

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    So he is again. Suarez's 16 goals in 21 league games this term puts him second in the top-scorer standings, three behind Messi. Add in assists, and only his old team-mate (23) has had more direct goal involvements than Suarez (18) in LaLiga this season.

    While Suarez is no longer as explosive as he was at Liverpool and in his earlier Barca years, he has lost little of his ruthlessness. Discounting the two penalties he has converted this term, Suarez has scored 14 times from an expected goals value of just 9.6. That differential of 4.4 is the biggest in the division, save for that of 'El Comandante', Levante's 33-year-old star striker Jose Luis Morales (5.0).

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    The Uruguayan also boasts a big chance conversion rate of 63.2 per cent, having scored 12 out of 19 this term. No player to have scored from at least 10 big chances can match that success rate. That cutting edge in a team that has conceded just 16 league goals in 24 matches is a potent combination.

    CAN SUAREZ STOP THE DERBY ROT?

    Atleti followed December's derby defeat by winning 10 of their next 12 games, the only slip-ups being a Copa del Rey shock at Cornella and a 2-2 home draw with Celta Vigo on February 8 (in which Suarez scored twice).

    However, including that result, they have won only twice in their past five league matches, a run that has emboldened Barca and Madrid's title hopes and left fans wondering whether 'Hay Liga' after all.

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    But Suarez has happy memories of facing Los Blancos. Although he's gone two games without scoring against them, his goal record overall reads nine scored in 12 league appearances versus Madrid, the most of any player since his first season in Spain in 2014-15.

    What's more, he has an all-important side-kick back in form.

    JOAO, THAT'S IMPRESSIVE

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    Joao Felix has created eight chances for Suarez in LaLiga in 2020-21, more than any other Atleti player. Of his four assists, three have been for the former Ajax man; only Marcos Llorente has provided as many for Atleti's number nine.

    Perhaps Suarez has found a kindred spirit in Joao Felix: supremely talented, decisive, and "rebellious". What better double act to deploy in the Atleti's most important LaLiga derby in seven years?

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    ROUND-UP

    - Bild reports Manchester City are favourites to sign Erling Haaland if Borussia Dortmund sanction an off-season exit. Haaland has been linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Liverpool, ChelseaUnited and Bayern.

    - As City target Haaland, Sport Mediaset says Serie A champions Juve are considering a move for veteran forward Sergio Aguero. The Argentina international is out of contract at season's end.

    Barca have been offered Bayer Leverkusen star Edmond Tapsoba, claims Sport. Tapsoba is valued at around €40m.

    - Wolves are open to selling Adama Traore at a reduced price, according to the Daily Mail. Barca, Liverpool and City have been linked with Traore previously.

    - The Sun reports United are considering the sale of star goalkeeper David de Gea. It comes as Dean Henderson expects to become number one next season. The Transfer Window podcast, meanwhile, says United are seeking a new number one amid links to Milan star Gianluigi Donnarumma.

    Chelsea remain interested in RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate, according to Bild. Konate is not short of admirers, linked to the likes of United and Arsenal.

    United have not contacted Eintracht Frankfurt's Andre Silva as an alternative to Haaland, claims Bild.

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