Manchester United are set to submit a €22m – £17.4m – offer for Holland international Daley Blind, one of a host of Dutch players to have been linked with a move to Old Trafford from the moment Louis Van Gaal was appointed as manager.
Blind impressed for Holland at the World Cup, where he was an ever-present figure for the Oranje and netted his country’s second goal in their 3-0 win over Brazil in the third spot play-off, and has attracted interest from a host of European clubs but United look poised to test Ajax’s resolve.
According to reports on Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, United are set to table an offer of over £17m for the Dutchman, with Van Gaal looking to strengthen his defensive options, particularly given Patrice Evra’s move to Juventus could be completed in the next 48 hours.
That would leave Luke Shaw as United’s only options at left-back and while the former Southampton man is thought to be in pole-position for a place in the starting XI, Van Gaal is understandably keen to secure an alternative to the 19-year-old England international and Blind could fit the role perfectly.
A defensive midfielder by trade – the position he normally occupies for Ajax – Blind can also be deployed as left-back, a role he’s occupied with excellent results for Holland. Throughout the World Cup, Van Gaal opted to play Blind, son of former Ajax captain and currently Holland assistant manager, Danny, as either a left-back in a 5-3-2 or 4-3-3 formation or as left wing-back when the Oranje opted for a 3-5-2 line-up.
The choice of deploying Blind as left-back was initially met with surprise by many Dutch journalist, given the 24-year-old isn’t as quick as Holland’s other options at left-back. However, what Blind lacks in pace he makes more than up for with an excellent reading of the game and a strong tactical discipline, characteristics which have endeared him to Van Gaal.
Last night Ed Woodward told MUTV that fans should expect more signings this summer and Blind could well be one of them. Despite being only 24, Blind has already made over 140 appearances for Ajax since breaking into the first team in 2008 – he spent a season on loan at Groningen in 2009-10 – and has won four consecutive Eredivisie titles with the Amsterdam club.