FC Barcelona are scrambling to get into a good their rhythm as they go in the post-Messi era. The club opened their La Liga campaign with a victory against Real Sociedad last week, but they dropped points against Athletic Club on Saturday. However, one thing is clear, new arrival Memphis Depay has been impressive, and he will be playing a major role in filling the void left by Lionel Messi.

It has become clear that Memphis Depay is the sliver lining in what was an otherwise dismal summer transfer window for the Catalan giants. They have failed to offload most of their high earners, whose exits would have helped ease their financial struggles. That failure in turn resulted in Messi's departure.

Nevertheless, thanks to the sacrifices from numerous players who have agreed to salary reductions, the Blaugrana were able to make a few additions to strengthen the squad. Of those, Memphis has been the clear standout. In last night's match against Bilbao, Barcelona were clearly off their rhythm. The home team took control for most of the match, and the visitors were very lucky that they only went down by one goal early in the second half after Inigo Martinez scored in front of the ecstatic home crowd.

Memphis was a man on a mission, and he was Barcelona's savior in the closing 15 minutes. The new arrival linked up well with fellow Dutchman Frenkie de Jong to score the equaliser and help Barcelona salvage a point from the fixture.

Throughout the match, Memphis was a clear threat at San Mames. The rest of the Barcelona squad was mostly neutralised, but they were relieved when Memphis managed to power one past Athletic keeper Julen Agirrezabala at the near post. Memphis even threatened to score the winning goal in the closing stages, but his shot went wide and the Catalans could only manage a 1-1 draw.

Barcelona keeper Neto was clearly struggling to keep the ball out of his goal, and the absence of Marc-Andre ter Stegen was clearly felt by Ronald Koeman. The manager was also missing Messi's presence on the pitch, but there is no doubt that he is pleased with himself after making sure that Memphis made the move to Barcelona.

Elsewhere, the team struggled even more after captain Gerard Pique had to be taken out after an awkward fall. Another new signing, Eric Garcia, had a disastrous evening after he and Ronald Araujo struggled in the absence of Pique at the back. Garcia ended his match with a red card after a late incident in stoppage time.

Memphis Depay
Memphis Depay celebrates after scoring Barcelona's equaliser against Athletic Bilbao AFP / ANDER GILLENEA