Louis van Gaal believes "there's always a question mark" over Memphis Depay amid reports the forward has agreed terms with Barcelona.
Depay was one of van Gaal's signings at Man Utd in a £25million deal back in 2015.
Yet despite arriving to plenty of fanfare and taking over the coveted no.7 shirt, Depay ultimately flopped at Old Trafford.
Since being sold to Lyon in 2017 though he has rejuvenated his career, and now looks set to become one of Ronald Koeman's first signings at the Nou Camp.
But former boss van Gaal still feels his old charge has something to prove.
Asked whether Depay can succeed at Barca, van Gaal told Tutto Mercato : “There’s always a question mark. Depay is an interesting player, especially when he’s free to play.
"But we have to consider adapting to a new culture and a new team. And the first year is always the hardest.
"Look at [Matthijs] De Ligt, or Frenkie de Jong.
"Depay has talent, but he’s not [Lionel] Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo."
Lyon and Barcelona are said to have been in discussions for days over a potential transfer involving Depay.
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The 26-year-old was a key member of Lyon's side as they reached the Champions League semi-finals last season and will now have a chance to link back up with his old Holland boss Koeman.
It was under a similar scenario that Depay joined United, having also worked with van Gaal at international level.
He went on to make 53 appearances for the club, scoring seven times, but failed to hit the heights that earned him the move from PSV.
But speaking about his time at United in his autobiography, Depay laid blame at van Gaal for his failed spell.
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"At United I got confused," Depay said. "I had to follow the tactical orders of Van Gaal, otherwise I would certainly lose my spot in the team. Van Gaal doesn't like players who don’t follow up on his comments.
"Meanwhile I knew I couldn't get the best out of my play this way: staying on the left side of the field, running back and forth.
"I didn't understand: you buy me because of my specific qualities you saw at PSV and the Dutch national team. After that you put me in a role where I can't play that way anymore. For me that was confusing."
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