Sports

Manchester United acquire Memphis Depay for new assault on Premier League

Louis van Gaal has led Manchester United to the cusp of qualification for next season's Uefa Champions League
Louis van Gaal has led Manchester United to the cusp of qualification for next season's Uefa Champions League eurosport.com

Manchester United are on the verge of qualifying for the Uefa Champions League after missing out on the competition this season. Progress to the tournament was one of the main ambitions of Louis van Gaal when he took charge at Old Trafford at the start of the 2014 season. The Dutchman's acquistion of Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven suggests the Dutchman is also constructing a new front line.

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Manchester United head into the 36th game of the English Premier League season in fourth place with 65 points.

As it stands United occupy the final berth for next season's Uefa Champions League.

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Liverpool are four points behind United as the season reaches its final throes.

Both sides head to London this weekend. United travel to the south-east of the capital to play at mid-table Crystal Palace while Liverpool go west to the newly anointed champions Chelsea.

Last Sunday Palace gave a brilliant account of themselves as Chelsea edged past them 1-0 at Stamford Bridge to clinch their fourth Premier League crown.

Palace will be just as tricky at home to United. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said after the title was secured that he would give a run out to some of the squad's youngsters in the remaining three games.

But the Portuguese will be reluctant to jeopardise this season's unbeaten home record even if the title has been collected.

United have been woeful in attack this season. They've scored 59 goals in their 35 games. And manager Louis van Gaal appears to be addressing such lacklustre marksmanship.

On Thursday United announced that they had reached an agreement with PSV to buy the striker Memphis Depay when the transfer window opens next month.

At 21, Depay appears to be the long-term solution. The current main men - skipper Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie - are 29 and 31 respectively.

Depay has experience at the highest level. He scored two goals as the Netherlands, under van Gaal, reached the semi-finals at the World Cup in Brazil last summer.

If the deal, believed to be in the region of 33 million euros, goes through, Depay will become United's first signing of the 2015 close season.

His arrival will probably signal the end of the club's ill-fated fling with Radamel Falcao. The Colombian has struggled since joining on loan from Monaco in September, scoring only four times. He is expected to return to his parent club at the end of the campaign.

His failure has to be considered in the light of the poor returns from the front men. Rooney is the club's top scorer with 14 goals in all competitions and van Persie is the only other player to have reached double figures, having found the net 10 times.

Depay's signature will be promoted as a coup by the United hierarchy and a symbol that Old Trafford is still a desired venue for Europe's top talent. The Dutchman is believed to have been on the radar of the French champions Paris St Germain following a prolific season in which his 21 league goals fired PSV to the Eredivisie title.

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