Manchester United signed Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven in 2015.
Despite showing some good flashes for the club he failed to recreate the form he’d shown in the Eredivisie and was then pretty much frozen out under Jose Mourinho.
That led to a move to Lyon in 2015, and at the time there were reports of a clause which gave the Premier League club a buyback option should they be impressed with Depay in the future.
At the time Sport Witness explained buyback clauses aren’t allowed in French football.
Article 202 of LFP’s administrative rules regarding players and managers tells you everything you need to know about the situation.
It states: “Club directors cannot sign off on a contract containing a ‘release clause’ (pre-agreeing, in exchange for compensation, the breach of the contract by either of the contracting parties), ‘cancellation clause’ or a unilateral termination clause with a French or foreign professional player, whether it be with the player or the club.”
As we wrote at the time: ‘Considering a buy-back clause falls under those terms as it would be a pre-agreement that would ‘breach the contract’ Depay and both clubs are about to sign, it seems there is little chance of one being included in the deal.
What can be done, however, is the inclusion of a ‘first option’ agreement, meaning were Lyon to accept a bid for Depay down the line, they would then have to notify Manchester United, who in turn would be able to match said offer with their own, with it being automatically accepted.’
And that’s what turned out to be the case, Manchester United have the option to match what another club would offer for Depay, if that figure was acceptable to Lyon.
The Ligue 1 club’s director of football Juninho has now confirmed that, quoted on the club’s website about the Dutchman’s future: “Manchester United has the priority if several clubs line up to buy him. But we have not received any offers so far. He is really happy right now in Lyon.
“Rudi (Garcia) will soon make his decision. He is a technical leader. We will discuss an extension of contract by the end of the year.”
With a contract lasting until June 2021, Lyon will know they need a renewal sooner rather than later, otherwise a sale looks increasingly possible.