Last year, for a few hours, we thought that maybe Tottenham would be able to purchase PSV and Dutch national team star Memphis Depay. It all came to nothing, and it was never entirely clear how strong the links were and whether a bid had been made. Now we know.
In an interview with the Dutch Broadcast Foundation (NOS), PSV director Toon Gerbrands confirmed Spurs' interest last summer and suggested a move could take place in 2015:
In de zomer meldde Tottenham Hotspur zich al voor Depay. "Toen werden er bedragen van twintig miljoen euro genoemd. We hebben toen besloten om ze binnen te houden", zegt de algemeen directeur. En: "Dan is er na dit seizoen een optie om te vertrekken."
I have confirmed with Dutch speakers that Gerbrands is saying that Tottenham really bid €20m (£15M) in the summer. So that was a real and substantial offer. He says PSV decided at that point to keep Depay. But, most importantly, he says that this summer Depay will have the option to leave, and based on the editing he seems to imply Tottenham would be a likely destination.
PSV Eindhoven appear to have made the right decision not to sell Depay, The Red and Whites are running away with the Eredivisie title, and even yesterday's home loss to Ajax merely cut their lead to 11 points. Keeping that gang together for one last big score has paid off.
The key man for PSV by any measure has been Memphis Depay. The wide forward's 15 goals are tied for the league lead, and he has the best per-90 scoring rate of any player with over 1000 minutes in the Eredivisie. He is absolutely lapping the field in shot attempts, with 5.7 per 90. No other player with 1000 minutes played is over five shots per 90. Perhaps most impressively, Depay is just not a shot monster, he's the heart of PSV's league-leading attack. No player has been involved more than Depay in attacking moves that lead to shots. He has played a part in well over 50% of PSV attacking moves that led to chances for other players in addition to his ridiculous shot totals. And Depay only turned 21 years old a month ago. While there are doubts about any Eredivisie purchase, Memphis Depay bears every attribute you could want of a superstar in waiting.
Depay is good enough that Tottenham can hardly expect no competition. But Depay is also expensive enough that a mega-club like Chelsea is unlikely to snatch him up as a bargain buy. It would have to be a team willing to commit big money and playing time to a 21-year-old straight out of the Eredivisie. That limits the likely interest of suitors of the type that could easily outbid Spurs.
I live in hope.