The Dutch winger is not yet ready for another move to one Europe’s elite clubs, according to the former Barcelona midfielder
Edmilson does not believe that Memphis Depay is good enough to “play for a club bigger than Lyon”, despite another strong season at the Groupama Stadium.
The Dutchman has contributed 10 goals and 10 assists in 38 matches across all competitions for Lyon this season, emphasising his status as one for the club’s most important players.
He was similarly influential during their 2017-18 campaign, bouncing back quickly after an ill-fated two-year spell at Manchester United.
Lyon are currently third in Ligue 1, as they chase a place in next year’s Champions League, with a French Cup semi-final to negotiate next against Rennes on Tuesday night.
Depay admitted in January that he still has ambitions to play for one of Europe’s elite clubs, naming Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester City among his preferred next destinations.
However, Ligue 1 ambassador Edmilson feels that the 25-year-old is still some way short of that standard, as he revealed when discussing Lyon’s potential dealings in the summer transfer window.
“It is tough [for Lyon to keep their best players]! Today there are a lot of negotiations, transfers in football,” he began. “Teams like Lyon, Lille and Marseille have a lot of quality players so it is normal that teams like Manchester, Barcelona and Real Madrid come to find these players.
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“I think there are other great players at Lyon such as [Tanguy] Ndombele.
“For me, Memphis does not have the level today to play for a better team than Lyon.”
Should he remain with Lyon for another year, Depay will be charged with helping the club close the gap between themselves and PSG at the top of the league.
Thomas Tuchel’s side are runaway leaders in Ligue 1 this season, holding a 20-point lead over second-placed Lille with a game in hand.
The French top flight has become a predictable fare, with no one else able to match PSG financially and the league is thusly considered to be one of the least competitive in European football.
Lyon were the dominant force in France before the emergence of the Parisians, but Edmilson – who played for the club between 2000 and 2004 – cannot envisage a return to those glory days for his old club anytime soon.
“Lyon when they were champions for seven years in a row, Jean-Michel Aulas did a great job of building a strong squad from 2000 to 2007 by recruiting and selling intelligently to allow the club to stay on the top and be well organised,” Edmilson added.
“Then PSG arrived with their partners, their money, their staff and they took the best players which is now the difference. Today, it is impossible for a club like Lyon to be compared with Paris Saint-Germain.”