Memphis makes De Boer transfer prophecy come true with Macedonia strike

Robin Bairner
New Barcelona signing Memphis Depay shoots of the Netherlands against North Macedonia at Euro 2020

New Barcelona signing Memphis Depay shoots of the Netherlands against North Macedonia at Euro 2020

The confirmation of Memphis Depay’s move to Barcelona was tipped by Netherlands boss Frank de Boer to be the catalyst for the Dutch star to enjoy lift off in his Euro 2020 campaign.

Months of speculation were finally ended on Saturday, when it was confirmed that Depay will complete a switch to Barca(/b> following the expiration of his contract at Lyon.

While the Netherlands had made a promising start to their Euro 2020 efforts, beating Ukraine 3-2 then dispatching Austria 2-0, Depay’s form had been a source of concern.

De Boer predicted that the signing of the deal would trigger the best from the former Manchester United star going ahead, starting with the final group stage match against North Macedonia.

It might give him something extra to perform at the highest level
- Frank de Boer

“We are all looking for an improvement in him,” he said on Sunday.

“And I think, yes, it is a relief that he can concentrate following the transfer news as it can take part of your ideas in your head – the distraction of the transfer to Barcelona. So it might give him something extra to perform at the highest level.”

How important is Depay to Netherlands?

It took the Barcelona signing only 24 minutes of the Macedonia fixture to make his mark in the game, the beneficiary of a pass from highly rated PSV youngster Donyell Malen.

Indeed, Depay was left with the relatively straightforward task of steering the ball into an exposed next from inside the box.

Despite the criticism that has gone his way at the start of the European Championship, Depay is the man who has carried the Netherlands’ challenge in recent matches. In pre-tournament friendlies against Scotland and Georgia, he emerged with three goals and two assists, and while he was below par in fixtures against Ukraine and Austria, he still managed to contribute a penalty.

Depay playing to such a standard bodes well for Barcelona, especially as he is coming off a season with Lyon in which he scored 22 times and created 12 more in 40 matches.