It has been a frustrating start to the season for Memphis Depay at Barcelona.
Following the summer arrivals of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha, coupled with the contract renewal of Ousmane Dembele, the 28-year-old fell well down the pecking order at Spotify Camp Nou, even though he had finished his debut season as the club’s top scorer.
The Netherlands international came very close to leaving Barcelona during the summer window when a move to Juventus looked imminent. However, the transfer ended up collapsing, with the Italians signing Arkadiusz Milik instead.
There were uncertainties around Depay’s future right until the final hour of the deadline day, at which point he confirmed that he will be staying at Barça.
However, game-time has been limited for the ex-Lyon forward under Xavi, who has the aforementioned trio of Lewandowski, Raphinha and Dembele as his first-choice starters.
In fact, Depay did not feature in any of the first four league matches for Barcelona. But he has started each of the last two Liga outings against Cadiz and Elche, with reports claiming that Xavi has been impressed by the forward’s dedication and attitude
Depay even scored his first goal in the Catalan giants’ 3-0 win over Elche right before the international break. However, on both his starts, he was taken off around the hour mark by the manager and the striker is unhappy with that aspect as he wants more minutes on the pitch.
Speaking to ESPN while away on international duty with the Netherlands, Depay said about his lack of game-time: “Of course this time I look extra forward to this week with the national team, I’m sure you can guess why.
“I played less than usual and it’s not something I am used to. But here you know you are going to play so I am extra motivated and thankful. “I had two starting spots in the last two weeks in La Liga. It’s not enough.
“I get taken off after 60 minutes but I am longing for more. In the last 25 minutes of the game, there is more space and I always have the power to profit from that.”
Depay’s manager with the Netherlands national team, Louis van Gaal, also spoke about the forward and his Barcelona teammate Frenkie de Jong, stating that he would like to see the two play more regularly at the club.
With a packed schedule lying ahead of Barcelona after the international break, Xavi is likely to rotate his troops more often. And it could open the doors for Depay to get more minutes under his belt before the World Cup.