Ajax may be one of the most historic clubs in the world and have won more European Cups than Manchester United, but they are now largely a selling club.
The Amsterdam-based outfit have won the Eredivisie title for the past four seasons under coach Frank de Boer, but they have had to do that despite selling key players every year.
This summer the four-time European champions are in danger of losing a certain Daley Blind, who was one of the best players at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The 24-year-old versatile Netherlands international, who can play both in defence and in midfield, has been strongly linked with a move to United this summer.
The player himself has said on more than one occasion that he is open to offers (click here to read more), and now his coach De Boer has admitted that the club are resigned to losing their prized asset.
However, the former Barcelona and Rangers star has warned the Red Devils that they will have to pay a lot of money if they want to sign Blind.
‘If a club comes along with a lot of money, it is almost impossible to say no’, the 44-year-old Dutchman told Sky Sports News. ‘But we won't let him go for free that is for sure.
‘It is important for the player and the club that there is no tension or that it happens at the last minute’.
De Boer’s comments about Blind make two things clear for United: a) they need to cough up cash, and b) they need to act fast.
The 2014-15 Eredivisie season has already started, with Ajax kickoffing off their campaign with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Vitesse at the Amsterdam ArenA on Sunday.
Blind came on as a substitute just before the hour mark and had a good game overall (click here to read more). The 24-year-old is a key player in the Ajax team and De Boer will need to make changes if it looks like his compatriot will leave.
Which will not be as easy as many would think if United come in towards the end of the transfer window. Moreover, the Manchester outfit will have to pay as much as £17 million for Blind, as has been widely reported in recent days.
Despite reports of United having over £100m in their transfer kitty, so far they have signed just two major players: Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw.
A number of players have been strongly linked with moves to Old Trafford, including Juventus star Arturo Vidal and AS Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman, but those deals do not seem to be moving towards any conclusion (click here to read more).
And it seems that the Blind deal, if United are indeed interested in a player managed by Van Gaal during his time as the Netherlands national team coach, could be going the same way.
Time is running out for United to make important additions to a squad that lacks quality to compete for the Premier League title this season.