Tag Archives: Daley Blind

Eredivisie Team of the Week: Peterson rises as PSV & Ajax dominate

The Eredivisie season is back and so is our Player of the Year tournament. Every week Will Burns and Steve Davies select the best 11 from that week’s action and each player is awarded one point. One member of the team will win the ‘Player of the Week’ award and be awarded two points. Check the current standings here.

Two-goal Kristoffer Peterson claims our two-point Player of the Week prize as his side Heracles smashed Heerenveen 5-3 as the Swede also grabbed an assist in the win.

PSV and Ajax dominate the team taking eight of the eleven slots in the side. PSV smashed seven past ADO and Hirving Lozano and Luuk de Jong were obviously amongst the goals. Debutant Erick Gutierrez came off the bench to assist and score his own goal in the 7-0 rout.

Ajax, readying themselves for a Champions League group match against AEK midweek, defeated FC Groningen by three goals to no reply and veteran striker Klass-Jan Huntelaar and Dusan Tadic notched the goals.

More next week. Remember to keep an eye on the standings of the Player of the Season tournament by clicking here.


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Manchester UnitedPSV Eindhoven are set to venture into the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2009 and their first opponents are one of the most successful clubs in the world. Manchester United have claimed the European Cup silverware three times as well as winning the Cup Winners Cup in 1991 and arrive in Eindhoven on Tuesday to face Philip Cocu’s men.

Memphis Depay, PSV’s record sale of any player in their history, arrives home to face his former side and will look to make an impact which he has failed to do so far in the Premier League. The 21-year-old winger, however did help the Red Devils qualify for the group stages notching twice in part one of the Playoff round against Club Brugge at Old Trafford.


Manchester United defeated bitter rivals Liverpool 3-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday evening however, in all fairness it was a poor game including an atrocious first half. There was no creative spark for Van Gaal’s side, which looked like they lacked energy and passion. Apart from left-back Luke Shaw getting forward there was very little to admire from either side.

In a 4-2-3-1 formation, the powerful big Belgian Marouane Fellaini was used as makeshift centre-forward in the absence of the injured Wayne Rooney but failed to make an impression. Although, United were the home side, they seemed to be restricted by their tactical straitjacket enforced on them without Rooney, but still against a poor Liverpool side, who have only scored three goals all season, they still ran out 3-1 winners.

The second half showed an improvement from the Old Trafford outfit mainly due to new sense of urgency that half-time substitute Ashley Young (replacing Depay) brought on with him. Former Ajax man Daley Blind scored a good goal just after the break, although Brendan Rodgers’ men did not look switched on to close the Dutchman down.

150914 - Man Utd

One thing Van Gaal has constructed in Manchester is a well-organised defence, even though some second-half chances from the Reds made the back four look uncomfortable under pressure. The inexperienced Joe Gomez gave away a penalty to set-up Ander Herrera to make it 2-0 and after Christian Benetke (Liverpool) grabbed a consolation with a perfect overhead kick, a young Frenchman appeared off the bench to send the 75,347 into raptures.

The £58.8 million price tag was deemed as ‘ridiculous’ by Van Gaal prior to Saturday’s game, but 18-year-old Anthony Martial, a window signing from AS Monaco, killed the game off in style and paid off a tiny bit of monstrous fee. With great composure the teenager, making his debut, had veteran defender Martin Skrtel retreating before placing a shot into the Liverpool net.

PSV could trouble United come Tuesday night with their precision passing and speed off the counter. Look for Maxime Lestienne to stress out Darmain in the right-back position and Luuk de Jong should prove to be a handful, especially if the much smaller Daley Blind is sitting in central defence.

Manchester United will be without Rooney through injury and Van Gaal may look to the young Martial to make his first start and gain further confidence after his dream start.


Great tactician. Disciplinarian. Legend. Can all be words to describe former Ajax manager Louis van Gaal, who has one Champions League medal himself with the Amsterdammers. The 64-year-old stepped into the Red Devils’ hot-seat after David Moyes failed to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson, when the famous Scotsman retired in 2013.

The clipboard wielding Dutchman has had little success in his tenure in Manchester so far, but this is indeed a transitional period for the 20-time league title winning side, where Van Gaal is bringing in his own players, own formation and own style of football to the Premier League.

KEY PLAYER: Memphis Depay

If Memphis Depay is going to pick his game up, surely the Philips Stadion is his perfect stage to perform this act. The 21-year-old is physically strong, fast and skilful so has all the credentials to be a top player but looks to having a tough time adjusting in the Premier League. Obviously, PSV head coach Philip Cocu knows the player very well and will look to Colombian right-back Santiago Arias to control Depay and keep him quiet. Arias will find it hard to discover a tougher task in his career, although as he proved in Saturday’s 6-0 win away to SC Cambuur, Depay may have to do some defending of his own.


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Daley Blind confirmed as Manchester United player

Manchester United have announced the signing of Daley Blind from Ajax for a transfer fee of £14 million writes Ravindra Patel. The Dutch international joins United on a four-year deal with an option of a further year.

Daley Blind in the Man Utd shirt – image courtesy of ManUtd.com

Daley Blind said: “I have been at Ajax since I was seven years old and I will always have very fond memories of the club and of my time there.

“Louis van Gaal is a tremendously talented coach, I have worked with him at Ajax and also for the Netherlands national team and I cannot wait to work with him at the biggest club in the world.”

“It is a real honour to sign for Manchester United.


Louis van Gaal said: “I am delighted Daley has signed for the club.

“He is a very intelligent and versatile footballer that can play in many positions.
”Daley is a great reader of the game, he has played under my philosophy over a number of years and he will be a great addition to the team.”

The 24-year old came through the Ajax youth system where he made his debut in 2008 for the Amsterdam club. After winning four Eredivisie titles in a row with Ajax, Blind was name Dutch player of the year for the 2013/2014 season.

Blind has won 19 caps for the Netherlands and was selected by Van Gaal to go to the World Cup in Brazil. The former Ajax man impressed making two assists in the Netherland’s opening game against Spain, which they won 1-5 and scoring against Brazil in the third place play-off. The versatile player who can play left-back, left-wing back and defensive midfield will be inline to make his debut after the international break against QPR at Old Trafford.


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What can Man Utd fans expect to see from Daley Blind?

After a few weeks of rumours it is finally a done deal. Daley Blind will make to the move to Manchester United for a number which floats around £14m (around€18m) plus bonuses and a percentage of a future fee if Blind ever leaves United. The versatile Dutch international will be the fifth major signing from Louis van Gaal. Only, what kind of player is Daley Blind? Martijn Hilhorst explains.

When Blind became an official squad member for Ajax in 2008/09, the opinions were divided. Some felt he was not good enough, while others saw the potential in him.  As a young kid, he eventually played a total of five league matches that season and Ajax manager of that time, Martin Jol was not convinced. The following season he was loaned out to FC Groningen where he played left and right full-back and this brought some staggering performances. After a great spell in Groningen, many clubs wanted to loan him, but Blind decided he wanted to stay at Ajax to earn his place in the team. This was a bold move and he emerged successful in the challenge until the winter when he failed to play but then Jol was fired in December 2010. His successor was Frank de Boer.

‘Frankie’ immediately said that Vurnon Anita (now of Newcastle United) was not a left-back, but a defensive midfielder. Daley became the second choice after Urby Emanuelson and six months later , Urby was sold to Serie A giants AC Milan. Therefore, Blind became first choice as a left-back in which he played for a few seasons until the 19th October of 2013.

In an away fixture against FC Twente, he was selected in the defensive midfielder role and with just nine minutes remaining, he provided the assist in a 1-1 draw. After that season (2012/13) he was named Ajax’s ‘Player of the Year’ and the season following even the Eredivisie’s ‘Player of the Season’ but enough of the ‘chit-chat’, what are his qualities and his (minor) flaws?


Daley Blind is known for his versatile way of playing.  For example, during this summer’s World Cup campaign for the Netherlands, coach Louis van Gaal decided to use him as a central defender and left-back which he performed well. He possesses great intelligence and awareness, always turning the right way, knowing when to clear the ball or take a breather and he combines this decision making with key passes during the match. Everyone remembers the ball he floated in for Robin van Persie in the 5-1 hammering of Spain. That is a perfect example of a courageous cross which not a lot of players would have delivered so perfectly. The biggest aspect of his game is his passing.

In the last years couple of years, I haven’t seen a ‘DM’ anywhere in the world (expect for Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets) who has such a brilliant composure on the ball. When your build up play is dreadful, give it to Daley, he will create a brilliant through ball to one of his fellow midfielders or forwards.

Although, he has got a few flaws. He is not a ruthless defensive midfielder like the Premier League may be used to, and he is to slow for the left-back position but bear in mind that Louis van Gaal is the manager! He is able to change the game, making people understand that his philosophy is one to follow. Where many United players are having trouble with adjusting to his 5-3-2 formation, Blind could lead the way. Ajax players are known for their intelligence and technical abilities so he is a perfect fit as a DM.

Agreed, he was named Eredivisie’s ‘Player of the Season’ in the 2013/14, but do not expect a fancy player which will solve everything at Manchester United. You can expect a player who will control the play, dictate the tempo and protect the defence.

The Red Devils will have one easy solution now – just give it to Daley and he will lead United to victory.


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Blind move to Man Utd is imminent

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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Blind to join Man Utd? Agent says not yet

Manchester United and United We Stand Fanzine editor Andy Mitten has said that the Red Devils’ scouts were watching Dutch star Daley Blind at the weekend during their defeat to PSV Eindhoven and also went on to confirm that scouts had informed him that the deal was as good as done for the 24-year-old writes Robbie Dunne.

However today, Blind’s agent Ron Jansen has stated that United are yet to make a bid for the Ajax defender.

Mitten recognized the fact that it had not come from an official source and that the scouts didn’t have to stand it up against anything due to the fact that they are not journalists or official sources but he did say “There is talk in Holland that Blind is on his way to Old Trafford” while also saying “word among the scouts is that it is a done deal.”

Blind starred at the World Cup under the management of Louis van Gaal and can play in several roles in a Van Gaal style system. The positions he plays also happen to be areas of concern for Manchester United, defensive midfielder and left wing back and left centre back in a three-man defence three areas that Van Gaal will be looking to strengthen before the transfer window closes.

Blind himself said he hadn’t heard anything but was quoted as saying, “we will see what happens in the next few weeksc”, which was two weeks ago. There appears to be some movement behind the scenes on this one and it is not secret that the new Red Devils’ manager is a fan of Blind.


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Eredivisie Week 3: Ajax vs. PSV preview and betting tips




AJAX vs. PSV (15:45 BST)

This Sunday, Ajax Amsterdam face PSV Eindhoven in a crucial early season match-up at the Amsterdam ArenA. Both sides are red-hot after two matches and the winner will have the upper hand in the hunt for the Eredivisie title, which looks to be a two horse race between the two clubs writes Alex Pieter.

Daley Blind & Memphis Depay

The PSV attack is firing on all cylinders after defeating NAC Breda by a count of 6-1 last weekend. The Ajax attack has not been too shabby itself, tallying seven goals in two matches. This match will come down to which side can defend better.

PSV has a strong central-defensive duo in the likes of Karim Rekik and Jeffrey Bruma. Jetro Willems is also a capable left-back however; the weak spot that Ajax must exploit is right-back Santiago Arias. NAC had success going at the young Colombian and Arias will face a much stronger attack this weekend. Whether he can hold up against the likes of Lasse Schöne, Thulani Serero, Davy Klaassen, Ricardo Kishna and Daley Blind will go a long way in determining the result for PSV.

The biggest question mark for the Ajax defence heading into this weekend’s showdown is the fitness of right-back Ricardo van Rhijn. Van Rhijn has been battling a hamstring injury throughout the summer, but hopes to make his comeback this weekend. Frank de Boer will have a big decision on his hands determining whether Van Rhijn is fit to start. The replacement is Ruben Ligeon, who has looked shaky at times in the first few matches. Another question facing the Ajax coach is whether to stick with Mike van der Hoorn at centre-back or go back to Joël Veltman. Veltman will be the starter in due time, but Van der Hoorn has looked solid in his first two matches. Ajax will line up with Niklas Moisander and Nicolai Boilesen as the other central defender and left-back, respectively.

Another question for Ajax is the striker situation. The plans Samuel Eto’o seems to have fallen through. As a result it will be up to Arkadiusz Milik, Kolbeinn Sigthórsson and Zivkovic to carry the load. Although Sigthórsson’s future in Ajax is in question, as a move to Queens Park Rangers looms, and his status for this weekend is still up in the air. Ajax will need big performances out of their wingers and attacking-midfielder Davy Klaassen.

The uncertainty in the Ajax camp is nothing new, as they are more than used to transfer rumours and injury problems. Last year’s captain Siem de Jong spent much of the season battling various injury problems as did Nicolai Boilesen. Frank de Boer is a seasoned coach who always seems to find a way to get the job done.

PSV have yet to reach their full potential. Adam Maher has not played like he is capable of, Luuk de Jong is still finding his feet in a new environment and coach Philip Cocu is still perfecting his rotation. They look to be Ajax’s biggest title challenger this year, with some even coining them the league favourites. If they are to be considered legitimate contenders, they will need to get at least a point in Amsterdam this weekend.



By now most people know of Blind and what he is capable of. It is blatantly obvious Ajax are a much better team when Blind is in the starting line-up. They looked lost without him in the Johan Cruyff Schaal match against PEC Zwolle. He allows Klaassen to play further up the pitch, where he is most effective. Blind’s distribution also gives Ajax many added dimensions going forward and with the striker situation still in flux, Blind will be the key to unlocking the PSV defence. If he is able to find the likes of Ricardo Kishna, Anwar El-Ghazi, Klaassen and Schöne in space, it bodes well for the Amsterdammers. Blind is also adds extra protection in front of the backline, something that will be crucial against the high powered offense of PSV.


There is no bigger name in the Eredivisie at the moment. Depay is on the radar of the top clubs from leagues across Europe and his future at PSV has been in constant flux. He is under contract at PSV until 2017, meaning if a club wants him they will have to pay up, likely in excess of €20 million. Depay is the focal point of the PSV attack, though they have other talented players in support, they will look to Depay to shoulder the load. It is not a matter of shutting down Depay for Ajax, he will get his chances, he is that good, it is a matter of controlling those chances and limiting them. If Depay is able to make the most of his chances and pick out his teammates it could spell big trouble for Ajax.


Both teams are facing distractions, with each club dealing with transfer rumours regarding their star players. Additionally, PSV faced a Europa League playoff match on Thursday night. On paper, PSV has more talent than Ajax and there is little evidence to say otherwise. However, football is not played on paper and Ajax have a better team than PSV. Frank de Boer is the best manager in the Eredivisie and he has the Amsterdam giants headed in the right direction. Also, Ajax has home advantage, where they are extremely tough to beat.


Ajax to win (9/10 – Bet Victor)

Ajax to win 3-2 correct score (20/1 – Bet Victor)


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Daley Blind would consider move to Manchester United

Despite the continuous reports in the English media, Ajax left-back Daley Blind insists has not heard the rumours linking him with a potential transfer to Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United, although he has stated he would consider a move if a ‘nice option becomes available’ writes Will Burns.

Reports indicate that new Man Utd boss Van Gaal is keen to add the 24-year-old to his squad at Old Trafford after he played a starring role in Holland’s unexpected progession to the semi-finals of the World Cup this past summer in Brazil.

Talking to Fox Sports Nederland after today’s 3-1 win away to AZ Alkmaar, Blind denied any suggestions linking him to the Red Devils said: “I have nothing to report, I’m happy here at Ajax.”

Although the defender refused to rule out the possibility of leaving the Amsterdammers if the right club approached him: “I certainly don’t need to leave and I am happy with all the support I receive here but if a nice option becomes available, then we’ll talk and then we’ll see.”

Blind has been with the reigning Eredivisie champions since the age of 8 years old and head coach Frank de Boer has already admitted that the club would not stand in Blind’s way if they received a suitable offer this summer for him.

Last week De Boer spoke to De Telegraaf and said: “We all know that if there is a price that we could not refuse, if that is offered then we’ll wish him all the best. But I have not heard anything so far, so I am assuming that he will still stay for another year.

Although De Boer did suggest that he thinks the player is ready for a big move: “I think it’s best for him, but on the other hand if the temptation is there, if such a big club comes in, he could adapt well.”


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Dutchman interested in move to Man Utd

Manchester United target and Netherlands World Cup star Daley Blind has admitted that he would be open to a move to Manchester if new manager Louis van Gaal were to make an offer for him.

The Ajax defender has been constantly linked with a summer move to Old Trafford given the fact that Blind fits perfectly into the new 3-5-2 model of play that Van Gaal is implementing at the club.

Blind said, “For me, it is just about waiting but I am happy here in Amsterdam” and went on to say that “if something comes along his path, I will think about it.”

His focus remains on Ajax, but he finished the interview by saying, “we will see what happens next week”. Whether or not van Gaal has set a deadline for a new arrival remains to be seen but it seems quite strange that Blind would mention a specific time as to when he is expecting something to happen.

Ajax head coach Frank de Boer also weighed in by saying that “he will make the right choice and if he goes to a big club, he deserves it.” but went on to say that the defender would be better of staying in Amsterdam for another year to develop the quite competent skill set that he already boasts.

Manchester United recently lost out in the Thomas Vermaelen sweepstakes to Barcelona with the former Arsenal captain moving to Spain for a fee believed to be in the region of £13 million.

It is no secret that Manchester United are in the market for a left-footed defender and Blind is probably the most realistic target at this point in time. He is affordable, up for the move, knows Van Gaal and his system, and is versatile in what he can offer the club.

The 24-year-old has appeared for Ajax 100 times since his debut in 2008 scoring three goals during that time. He is also a fully fledged Dutch international footballer with 19 caps to his name, and the son of former Ajax footballer Danny Blind.


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Daley Blind could be Man Utd’s surprise signing

Since Louis van Gaal was announced as the new Manchester United manager in late June, if you are Dutch and not linked with a move to Old Trafford then you can count yourself unfortunate. Speculation around who the new boss is going to bring with him was always going to be elevated because of the third place finish they achieved which was well above expectations writes Joe Maloney.

A number of eye catching displays were noticed throughout the tournament especially after the 5-1 and 3-0 thrashings to Spain and Brazil.  In truth, you wouldn’t have found many people picking the likes of Nigel De Jong, Stefan De Vrij, Wesley Sneijder Memphis Depay and Jordy Clasie as the players who were going to reinvigorate a team that finished its worst ever Premier League campaign in seventh place. It is clear, Manchester United require an influx of new faces if they are to mount a serious title push this coming season.

One player who should be high on the list however is Daley Blind. A man who was very familiar to the Dutch management structure for this tournament, with his father Danny being employed as LVG’s right hand man. Blind, 24 who graduated through the famous Ajax academy (a club close to Van Gaal’s heart) possesses a number of qualities that would ensure him to be an important player in the new United regime.

His outstanding display at left wing back, against defending champions Spain, was one of the outstanding performances of the tournament. Few forget Robin van Persie’s remarkable diving head was met from an outstanding cross field ball from Blind. Left-back, his most natural position, is something United will need cover for because of the recent sale of Patrice Evra to Juventus. There is no other recognised left back remaining except for new signing Luke Shaw.

Although Shaw has been brought in from Southampton for £27 million, it will be impossible to ask an eighteen year old to play his first full season at one of the biggest clubs in the world without a dip in form or injury. Blind has demonstrated his ability to play at wing back, should Van Gaal decide to utilize the 5-3-2 system that worked so well for the Netherlands over the summer.

One of the attractions to Van Gaal’s style of management is his ability to recognise things are not working how he would like and switch to a different system that his players know like the back of their hand. He did this a number of times during the tournament, which saw Blind perform well in a slightly deeper defensive role, while the team changed to a vintage 4-3-3 formation. He has also tailored his game to be a useful central defender. The new boss has made it clear to the clubs hierarchy that it is a priority to bring in players within this area after losing the experienced figures Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. The only recognised centre defenders remaining in the squad are Johny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, all of which struggled with injuries and form last season.

After beating LA Galaxy in their first pre season game 7-0, Van Gaal insisted United would continue playing the 5-3-2 when the season began. Therefore, it is obvious signings will need to be made. Darren Fletcher finished the match Pasadena at the back because of the lack of depth available. Daley’s international team mate Stefan De Vrij has also been linked with a move to Old Trafford, although he appeared to struggle whenever tactics were switched to a 4-3-3 system and he had only one central partner. De Vrij has been put up for sale by Feyenoord since the conclusion of the World Cup which casts major doubts over his capabilities.

The most valuable problem Blind will be able to solve in United’s team is the holding midfield role vacated by the injury to Michael Carrick. Although Carrick remains an important player for the reds, it is obvious this area of the team requires refreshing. Currently, it lacks pace, power, energy, drive, creativity and stability. Ander Herrera is an almost certain starter next term yet it is apparent van Gaal would like to add to this area. Marouane Fellaini, brought in by David Moyes for a extravagant fee of £27 million is not good enough for a club of United’s stature. Darren Fletcher is unlikely to ever be the player he once was, before his unfortunate illness, and Tom Cleverley has failed to live up to the promise he once suggested.

Blind was a regular in the Ajax side that culminated in being crowned League champions last season. At the age of 24, he has the majority required, yet years ahead of him to establish himself in the middle of the park. His naturally defensive mind-set may profit Herrera, also in his first year with the club. Herrera, who was second to Fabregas in attempting through balls in La Liga last year, will be expected to create opportunities for Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney. At the same time he is very comfortable on the ball and uses possession well. National team mate Nigel De Jong is regularly criticised for his passing ability, therefore making him a better option.

Another Dutchman who will likely be signed by Van Gaal is Kevin Strootman. He is a big fan of the Roma anchor man, however the serious knee injury picked up last season ruled him out of the World Cup and he has only just recently started training. Therefore it is unlikely Strootman will be signing for United this summer. That is a possible deal likely to be revisited in January or next summer.

The new United boss has said he wants to assess his options before making any further signings this summer. However, it is predicted a number of investments will be made before the transfer window shuts at the end of August. Deals may happen late in the window. The club starts the season without having to play any of last season’s top six teams in the first six fixtures of the new campaign. Therefore the panic for deals to be completed isn’t as frantic as in past seasons. If United are to regain the title from neighbours Manchester City next May, they will have to have the best squad because of the strains the Premier League creates. Flexibility is key for the different types of opposition that will be faced. Consequently the signing of Daley Blind may not be the biggest signing Manchester United make this summer but it may just be the valuable one that helps Louis van Gaal deliver success in his first season at Old Trafford.


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In a 33 man squad, RVP & Huntelaar return for France clash


Oranje coach Louis van Gaal has named a huge 33-man provisional squad for the Netherlands’ friendly match with France on March 5th in Paris. The friendly with France is the first of four warm-up games for the Dutch ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

Dutch captain Robin van Persie returns after having missed his country’s last two friendlies through injury.

Also recalled is Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who has only recently made his comeback after a knee injury. The 30-year-old striker had spent five months on the sidelines but has scored two goals in four league appearances for the Bundesliga side since returning to action after the winter break.

Van Gaal has also announced six players to his squad who could win their first cap including dangerous winger Jean-Paul Boëtius, who has been in great form over the past few months for Feyenoord and could receive his first cap in Paris. Other possible debutants in the squad include PSV pair Karim Rekik and goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet, FC Twente’s Quincy Promes, Vitesse’s Davy Pröpper and Ajax’s Davy Klaassen.


GOALKEEPERS: Jasper CILLESSEN (Ajax), Tim KRUL (Newcastle United), Maarten STEKELENBURG (Fulham), Kenneth VERMEER (Ajax), Michel VORM (Swansea City), Jeroen ZOET (PSV).

DEFENDERS: Daley BLIND (Ajax), Jeffrey BRUMA (PSV), Stefan DE VRIJ (Feyenoord), Bruno MARTINS INDI (Feyenoord), Daryl JANMAAT (Feyenoord), Karim REKIK (PSV), Gregory VAN DER WIEL (Paris Saint-Germain), Joel VELTMAN (Ajax), Paul VERHAEGH (FC Augsburg), Ron VLAAR (Aston Villa).

MIDFIELDERS: Jordy CLASIE (Feyenoord), Nigel DE JONG (AC Milan), Siem DE JONG (Ajax), Leroy FER (Norwich City), Davy KLAASSEN (Ajax), Davy PROPPER (Vitesse), Stijn SCHAARS (PSV), Wesley SNEIJDER (Galatasaray), Kevin STROOTMAN (AS Roma).

FORWARDS: Jean-Paul BOETIUS (Feyenoord), Memphis DEPAY (PSV), Klaas-Jan HUNTELAAR (Schalke), Dirk KUYT (Fenerbahçe), Luciano NARSINGH (PSV), Quincy PROMES (FC Twente), Arjen ROBBEN (Bayern Munich), Robin VAN PERSIE (Manchester United).


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The Eredivisie season restarts after the winter break on Friday night, so as a preview, over the next five nights we will be posting the stars of the division so far this term.

Here’s Will Burns with the rundown of the first five…

Vitesse - Patrick van Aanholt

The 23-year-old left back is halfway through his second season on loan in Arnhem and already it’s his best yet. Vitesse sit second in the league, gunning for this first ever Eredivisie championship and Van Aanholt has played his part making 16 appearances. Attacking down the left, Van Aanholt has the opposition quaking in their personalised boots while notching three goals while creating another three in the process.

The young defender’s greatest display this season was in Vitesse’s 6-2 demolition of PSV Eindhoven. Although he scored once and set up two others, he showed faultless composure and anticipation in defence especially when stopping the PSV attacks early in the second half.

Will a return to the Premier League with Chelsea be on the cards? Or does Jose Mourinho see Ryan Bertrand as the natural successor to Ashley Cole?

Ajax - Daley Blind

Son of Dutch legend, Danny, Daley Blind has emerged as the natural first choice left-back for Ajax over the last 18 months. However as of last nine games, Ajax manager Frank de Boer has moved Blind into the centre of midfield where he has continued to shine.

In a total of 14 appearances in the Eredivisie this season, the move to midfield was obviously going to be a success looking at Blind’s passing stats. So far, the 23-year-old has a fantastic 89.2% success rate, completing 856 out of 960 passes.

Already a mainstay in the Oranje first team, his international career could be taking another turn. Van Gaal classes Blind as his first choice left-back, but his recent displays in the holding midfielder position could change Louis’ mind for Brazil in the summer.

FC Groningen - Eric Botteghin

The Brazilian central defender has been an ever-present for Groningen this season, leading the club to sixth in the league standings. Botteghin’s main strength this season has been winning the majority of aerial duels that face him, he is 6ft 4inches tall afterall.

He is a no-nonsense defender, not afraid to boot the ball up the field to give his team time to regroup (168 clearances this season). His long-balls are accurate too; an interesting stat is that the Brazilian has completed a massive 94 of his 128 attempted punts up field.

Joining from NAC Breda in the summer, you have to wonder how long Groningen can hold onto Botteghin, especially when his ‘safety-first’ attitude would be right at home in the Premier League.

FC Twente - Luc Castaignos

Returning back to the Netherlands after an unsuccessful spell in Serie A, Castaignos looks like he could be ready to hit the big leagues again, at only 21-years-old.

At Inter Milan, over two seasons, the powerhouse striker only made six appearances in Italy and failed to make any impact. At Twente, to date, he has notched 23 times in 53 appearances since returning to the Eredivisie, including 10 goals this season.

Castaignos, Dusan Tadic and Quincy Promes have fired Twente into third place so far, just three points behind leaders Ajax. If the goals keep coming, then could a second Eredivisie title be heading to Enschede? Time will tell.

Ajax - Jasper Cillessen

Ajax suffered a terrible start to the season only winning two of the first five games, with goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer, rightly taking the majority of the blame due to some lack of concentration. The carnage continued and in September, Barcelona and PSV hit Ajax with a pair of 4-0 defeats. Meanwhile, Cillessen was keeping attacks at bay for the Jong Ajax side in the Jupiler League. De Boer called the 24-year-old into action, dropping Vermeer and Cillessen has cemented the starting spot his own.

Cillessen has been impressive, with a young inexperienced defence in front of him, he has kept seven clean sheets in 11 games he’s started. Louis van Gaal has found Cillessen impressive too, and has been named the Dutch number one, again replacing Vermeer in recent months.



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NEWS: Blind signs new Ajax deal

Ajax have revealed on their official website that young left-back Daley Blind has signed a new deal with the club. The defender’s previous deal was set to expire at the end of the current season, which led to speculations linking the 23-year-old with a summer exit abroad.

However, the lengthy negotiations have finally produced results as Blind opted to sign a new three-year contract with the Amsterdammers.

The son of Ajax legend Danny Blind has come through the youth ranks at Amsterdam Arena and, as of time of writing, made 63 Eredivisie appearances for the club, including 31 this season. Blind was recently called up for his international debut by Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal and has so far earned three Oranje caps. He made his debut for the Amsterdam club in December 2008 and has gone on to win two Eredivisie titles.

Blind also has two goals in the 31 league fixtures for Ajax this season, having made the left-back position his own. Blind has now been rewarded with a new three-year contract that should keep him at the club until June 2016.

“We have an agreement and everyone is very satisfied. Daley will play the next three years with Ajax,” director of football Marc Overmars told the club’s official website. “All doubts disappeared. Daley is a full international and at Ajax we hope this will continue.”



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