That, however, is exactly what happened over the weekend and, on the evidence of Euro 2020, Barcelona have bagged themselves a bargain.
He is certainly doing that at Euro 2020, with his latest performance against North Macedonia on Monday underlining how he could be one of the stars of the tournament.
Depay opened the scoring with a well-taken finish, before chipping in with two assists on the way to a 3-0 win for the Dutch.
The forward has struck twice in three group games at Euro 2020 – which is the same number he managed in 33 Premier League matches for Manchester United – and he looks a completely different player to the one who left Old Trafford in 2017.
Back then, Depay was devoid of confidence but now he seems to be relishing the big stage and the fact he is the Netherlands’ talisman.
The swagger that he showed at PSV in his youth has retuned after being lost at Manchester United, and the biggest compliment you can pay Depay is that it isn’t surprising Barcelona have signed him.
The 27-year-old looks and acts like a Barcelona player, tormenting defenders and causing problems whenever he gets possession.
His fine form has typified the Dutch’s perfect start to Euro 2020, which has seen them win all three of their games to finish top of Group C.
Defensively, it is safe to say Frank de Boer’s side look a little shaky – perhaps because they do not have Virgil van Dijk – but going forward they are a joy to watch.
Depay plays a key role in that, but Georginio Wijnaldum is also vital to their attacking unit. The midfielder plays much further forward than he does for Liverpool, essentially operating as a No10, and three goals in three games demonstrates how that is working well.
Donyell Malen is another spark in attack and you would expect he will start in the last-16 after shining against North Macedonia. Like Depay, the 22-year-old is a live wire and his pacy and link-up play makes him the ideal foil in attack.
The Dutch have finished the group stage with 8 goals to their name, more than any other side so far, and on this evidence they and Depay will take some stopping.