Memphis Depay might not have made the impact many hoped he would at Manchester United, but the Dutchman has enjoyed a second wind in France.
He finished his first full season with Lyon as the third-highest scorer in Ligue 1, finding the net 19 times, and he has since helped the Netherlands qualify for the UEFA Nations League semi-finals despite a tough group featuring France and Germany.
However, some question marks remain over his broader contributions, with the former PSV man announcing he was keen to leave for a “bigger club”. Whatever his on-field contributions, he’s not making things easy for himself.
Memphis hasn’t been quite as prolific in front of goal this season, but he has still chipped in with some timely strikes, including a late winner at Angers and a Champions League strike in the 3-3 draw with Hoffenheim.
With rumours of a return to Manchester gathering pace, especially with Alexis Sánchez struggling in front of goal, it feels like time for him to show he has matured since being allowed to leave by José Mourinho.
So, naturally, he has posted a freestyle rap video to celebrate reaching the milestone of 5m Instagram followers – while smoking a cigar throughout.
Let’s break it down, from start to finish, to see what it can teach us about Memphis.
Let’s start with the caption: ‘I bet this freestyle’s going viral!’. These are clearly the words of a man with zero self-doubt, who knows whenever he sets his mind to something he will pull it off.
Sure enough, at the time of writing, just 17 hours after the video was released, it has been viewed more than 1.3m times. That’s like Memphis stepping up to take a penalty, pointing at the spot in the goal where he’ll put the ball, and still beating the keeper.
That said, when you have five million followers it’s difficult not to do numbers on a post: even a photo of him touching down in Lyon after the international break earned more than 200,000 likes.
Now let’s take a look at the opening bars: “Call my agent, tell him double up” is the third line.
Some might say you should bury this sort of thing a little later on if you don’t want to reveal your hand in contract negotiations, but does Memphis really have a choice?
He only has six Lyon goals to his name this season, so it’s important he opens his presentation with some tangible KPIs. You know, like his Instagram follower count. He’s thought of everything
“They be asking who’s my idol,” he continues.
“Boy really got no idol, Cause the world messi, no Lionel.”
That’s some top-notch wordplay there – give that man all the money he wants.
He then goes on to reveal how he’s “pushing for the final” in the Nations League, before revealing “every game is a final”.
Will he refuse to celebrate if Ronald Koeman’s team makes it through the semis? After all, the following game won’t have any extra significance based on his standards.
No wonder he hasn’t been able to take Lyon beyond the round of 16 in any cup competition – he’s made the final already just by turning up for the first round, so anything else is a bonus.
30 – Les joueurs impliqués sur au moins 30 buts dans les 5 grands championnats en 2018
Luis Suárez – 39 (24 buts & 15 assists)
Leo Messi – 39 (28 buts & 11 assists)
Cristiano Ronaldo – 38 (30 buts & 8 assists)
🦁 Memphis Depay – 30 (16 buts & 14 assists)
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) November 23, 2018
You’ll notice the entire thing is filmed with the Eiffel Tower in view, and this could be for a few reasons.
Perhaps he wants to get people starting rumours of a move to France’s biggest club, or perhaps it was just so he could drop the couplet “Catch a vibe in Paris/Young king living lavish”.
Either way, it has made us wonder when he recorded the freestyle: did he stop off during the international break before returning to Lyon, or was it done back in October when he was in the city for his club’s league meeting with PSG.
Recording a freestyle for when you hit 5m followers while you’re still short of that mark, and doing so on the same weekend your team loses 5-0 – that’s quite the power move.
“I stay humble but I’m next,” raps the 24-year-old, while stood in front of the Eiffel Tower smoking a cigar and wearing a jacket that literally shimmers from all the gold.
Honestly, you have to just respect that.
By Tom Victor