No deal was done before the deadline passed, but Barca have retained their interest in Depay and are plotting a fresh approach.
Lyon have made it clear that they would be opposed to parting with a key man in the middle of a season, with it their intention to keep the talented 26-year-old on their books.
Makaay believes the former Manchester United winger would be a useful addition in Catalunya as he has been transformed into a productive frontman – one with 58 goals to his name through 145 appearances for Lyon.
He concedes that Depay is not a natural leader of the line in the Luis Suarez mould, as Barca seek to counter the sale of the prolific Uruguayan to Atletico Madrid, but he would offer important qualities to Koeman – especially with Ansu Fati now ruled out long term with a knee injury.
Makaay, who spent time in Spain with Tenerife and Deportivo La Coruna during his playing days, told Radio Marca: “Depay is a very good player, although I don't see him at the level yet that he had before he was injured.
“He's not a pure nine but if he goes to Barca, I'm sure he'll be important because he's got a lot of quality.”
While Barca are very much in the market for proven performers heading towards another transfer market, they are also prepared to show considerable faith in home-grown talent.
Fati, at just 18 years of age, has become a key man for the Blaugrana while fellow teenager Pedri is also displaying plenty of promise.
Makaay added: “I love Ansu Fati, he's showing he's got a really high level for an 18-year-old kid.
“I also like Pedri, I didn't know him and if you like football you'll like to see him play. Koeman's showing he'll give the young players a chance.”