Twenty-four year-old defender/midfielder Daley Blind is set to complete a transfer from Ajax Amsterdam to Manchester United imminently. The reported fee is €18 million (around £14m) writes Alex Pieter.
Blind joins a midfield in Manchester consisting of Juan Mata, Angel di Maria and Ander Herrera and the son of former defender Danny, will be expected to anchor the midfield in a deep, defensive role.
The news comes at a difficult time for the Amsterdammers, who is coming off a defeat to rivals PSV, who look to be keeping their star player, Memphis Depay. Frank de Boer’s side have just been drawn into a difficult Champions League group with European giants Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.
The €18 million that Ajax will receive for Blind will help alleviate any hard feelings about his departure. Blind is a very good player, but the money can go a long way for a club like Ajax, provided they spend it wisely, or at all.
With the sale of Blind and other players in the past five seasons, Ajax now has over €85 million to their name (via @Tussendelinies and transfermarket.nl). Ajax fans will now wait to see if Marc Overmars will make a move before the transfer window shuts. The reinging Eredivisie champions are in desperate need of reinforcements if they are to challenge for a fifth straight title. The midfield is now short on depth and no player has stepped up to lay claim to the striker position. Perhaps Overmars is waiting until the January transfer window to see where, and even if, this team needs any additions, but the way PSV are shaping up, by then it could be too late.
Blind’s move had been rumoured for some time, and will help make life for new Manchester United Boss Louis van Gaal a bit easier. Blind played under Van Gaal at this past summer’s World Cup and knows his preferred systems and tactics. He will help bring stability to a new midfield that needs to develop chemistry. It will take time for the midfield to mesh under Van Gaal’s systems, but Blind will help ease the growing pains.
By far, Blind’s greatest attribute is his knowledge of the game and his tactical awareness. Blind has the composition of a field general and future captain. Like all Ajax players, he has had tactics drilled into him from an early age.
However, Daley was not always destined to be great, like many of the other players Ajax have sold off to higher leagues in the past few seasons. In fact, at one point he was nearly sold to fellow Eredivisie side FC Groningen for a fee of just €1.5 million.
Blind’s persistence and drive paid dividends as he developed, first into a starter at Ajax, then a key contributor, and eventually one of the best players in the Eredivisie.
Only time will tell if Blind’s skill set will translate well to the English Premier League. If anything holds Blind back it will be his lack of pace and physicality. However, Christian Eriksen was knocked for the some things during his move to Tottenham Hotspur. Eriksen proved that players from Ajax can makeup for what they lack in pace or physical prowess with the tactical knowledge of the game and technique. If Blind can make a similar impact in Manchester to the one Eriksen has made in North London, it will have been a wise purchase for United.
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