According to reports in England and the Netherlands, Manchester United have agreed a £14 million fee for AFC Ajax defender Daley Blind. All that is left is for the player to agree to personal terms with the Premier League club, which is expected to be a formality.
Once the transfer is finalized, Blind will become United’s fifth signing of the summer; following the arrivals of Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo and Angel Di Maria.
United scouts were on hand last weekend to see the 24-year-old in action against PSV Eindhoven and club officials have been working overtime to close a deal for the reigning Dutch Footballer of the Year.
Blind is favored by United manager Louis van Gaal for his ability to play across a range of defensive and midfield options. The Dutch boss utilized the product of the Ajax youth system this summer during Holland’s surprising World Cup campaign in Brazil.
Speculation is Van Gaal will use Blind in a central role on the squad, given United’s early season injury problems and lack of depth in the midfield.
United are in the process of finalizing the sale of Shinji Kagawa to Borussia Dortmund, as well as the departure of Tom Cleverley. The reported arrival of Blind will help bolster the club’s decreasing midfield numbers.
Blind has been linked to a number of European clubs this summer. But prior to tonight, no official bids had been reported by representatives of the Eredivisie side. The word around Ajax is the club was hoping to hold on to the versatile player for at least one more season, before rubber stamping a move away from the Dutch league.
On Wednesday, Ajax director of football Marc Overmars told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that any club interested in signing the Netherlands international would have to pay an “absolute top price”.
“We believe that we currently have a strong team and want Daley to stay another year,” Overmars told the Dutch publication.
“Only if the absolute price is paid is a transfer negotiable.”
“Daley’s management know how we feel at the moment.”
“Next year we will have a much more lenient policy, we are willing to talk with Daley and we will settle for a reasonable price.”
It appears United have met that price and/or the player has told Ajax officials he wants to reunite with manager Louis van Gaal and fellow-Dutch international Robin van Persie in the red half of Manchester.
Blind has made 100 appearances as a member of the senior squad at Ajax and was named the club’s Player of the Year in 2012-13. The Dutchman also played on every level of Holland’s national team before being called up to the senior squad in February 2013.
He has 19 international caps and featured in every match during Holland’s third-place finish in this summer’s World Cup.