Atletico Madrid have asked FC Barcelona about the possibility of taking Memphis Depay on loan.
The Netherlands international enjoyed an impressive campaign at Qatar 2022 before his country was eliminated in the World Cup quarterfinals by eventual winners Argentina on penalties.
Despite his strong displays, however, the forward has failed to convince Barca first team coach Xavi Hernandez he is worthy of a place in the starting XI upon the resumption of club football.
Memphis began a thrilling 4-3 win over Intercity in the Copa del Rey a week ago, but was overlooked in vital La Liga clashes against Espanyol and Atletico Madrid.
With Diego Simeone’s men temporarily set to lose Joao Felix to Chelsea until the end of the season, on a loan deal worth a reported €11m ($11.8mn), Atleti have reportedly asked Barca about Depay’s availability according to El Larguero’s Manu Carreno and transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano.
Romano says that negotiations will take place this week “as direct contact has been scheduled to make the first proposal”.
Depay joined Barca in the summer of 2021 on a free transfer from Lyon and became a starter under his compatriot Ronald Koeman.
When Koeman was dismissed in October that year, and replaced by Xavi the following month, Depay still enjoyed prominence in the first team.
After the pulling of several ‘economic levers’ on the cusp of the 2022/2023 season, however, the arrivals of the likes of Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski, plus the improved form of Ousmane Dembele, have seen the 28-year-old increasingly frozen out of the fold.
Depay’s potential exit could put Xavi on a collision course with president Joan Laporta after he recently said: “I don’t want Memphis [Depay] or any other player to leave in January.”
“I think it’s going be a quiet window for us,” Xavi predicted.
With his future up in the air, Depay has traveled to Saudi Arabia with the Barca first team squad ahead of their Spanish Super Cup semi-final clash against Real Betis on Thursday.