The 24 year-old had been linked with an Old Trafford switch for much of the summer, after impressing under Louis van Gaal for the Netherlands at Brazil 2014.
And although the Oranje star may not be the most expensive or blockbusting acquisition the Red Devils have made this summer, we at Football Fancast believe the services he provides will prove vital for his new club’s Premier League ambitions next season.
So vital in fact, here’s a list of the FIVE most important things Daley Blind will bring to Old Trafford.
At the World Cup, he featured at left-wing back for the Netherlands, but he’s by no means a specialist to that role. Last season for example, as viewable below, he was utilised at left-back, left midfield, centre-back and central midfield by Ajax, producing consistent performances in all departments:
This is the signing Manchester United’s squad desperately needed. The strike-force is as strong as ever but glaring holes persist in both defence and midfield.
The 24 year-old offers height, strength, stamina and is well-schooled technically – what else would you expect from an Ajax academy product – making him perfect for a back three, whilst also providing cover for Luke Shaw, having established his credentials as a No.3 at Brazil 2014
But he’s equally strong as a holding midfielder – that role in Ajax’s first team saw him claim the Amsterdam outfit’s Player of the Year award last term.
The only problem is that up until now, Robin van Persie is the only Manchester United player to have worked under the 62 year-old before. With new signings arriving thick-and-fast and United a club whose history lies firmly within the realms of back-four-double-wideman football, it’s been a huge culture shock to everyone on the Carrington training pitches.
LVG needed an on-pitch general – someone who understands his ideals perfectly and can help implement them – and there are few better candidates in world football for this service than Daley Blind.
Not only is the United signing a Netherlands international, but he’s also a product of the Ajax academy, the club van Gaal took his first steps with as a player and a manager, evolving their total football mantra to win the 1995 Champions League title.
On top of that, Blind’s move to Old Trafford was instigated by his strong World Cup campaign, that saw him excel in the 3-4-1-2 system that LVG is now attempting to bring to United.
And as if that wasn’t enough credentials, he’s also the son of Danny Blind, van Gaal’s assistant at Brazil 2014 and a key defender in that European title-winning Ajax side, so he has a strong personal relationship with the Red Devils boss too.
But if the former Ajax star transitions his World Cup form to Old Trafford, United supporters can expect at least a handful of set-ups.
As viewable below, Blind finished Brazil 2014 with the second-most assists of any player, only bettered by Colombia’s Juan Cuadrado, none of which were from dead ball situations:
That includes this incredible pass to Robin van Persie:
United will hope that supply line can be rekindled now both Netherlands internationals are at Old Trafford. It brings significant boost to United’s midfield too – as viewable below, Marouane Fellaini, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley found just one assist between them last season:
With Darren Fletcher’s pace dwindling, Michael Carrick sidelined, Tom Cleverley moved on to Aston Villa and new signings Ander Herrera and Angel Di Maria both rather adventurous midfielders, United’s engine room lacks a ball-winner, a Roy Keane incarnate if you will who provides balance and athleticism in the middle of the park.
As you can see below, all of Manchester United’s central midfielder’s struggled defensively last season but Blind, in his holding role at Ajax, thoroughly excelled in that regard:
With Louis van Gaal’s adoration for attacking football well known, the Netherlands international’s physical and defensive strengths could prove vital for the Red Devils’ midfield next season.
Here’s a look at some of Blind’s best tackles combined with his best goals. A footballing feast!
Manchester United’s squad still has plenty of experience in the likes of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia, and it’s now been infused with extra quality after the club’s £150million spending spree.
But in defence, the Red Devils are worryingly absent of both. Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and rookie Tyler Blackett have lacked direction as United’s back three in their opening Premier League fixtures – they need a more composed and experienced figure thrown into the mix.
Daley Blind may only be 24 but he’s got a lot of experience to speak of. He’s already played in a World Cup quarter-final, has claimed four consecutive league titles in Holland and boast four-campaigns’ worth of Champions League exposure.
Likewise, the Netherlands international was a dressing room leader at Ajax, earning him the vice-captaincy earlier this summer before moving on to Old Trafford. As Priya Ramesh explains; “Frank de Boer has lost himself a real leader on field. Be it in leading the team to press, organising on field or just motivating the lads, Blind has evolved into a midfield general of sorts over the last few years.”
That sounds exactly like the type of character United desperately need at the back right now.