It is understood Louis Van Gaal is growing increasingly frustrated by Manchester United’s failure to land transfer targets this summer, as last week the club saw interest in Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen come to nothing when the 28-year-old moved from Arsenal to Barcelona.
If you've been following the gossip columns in recent days, you will also be fully aware of the situation currently surrounding Sporting Lisbon defender, Marcos Rojo. The 24-year-old full-back submitted a transfer request at Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday after Louis van Gaal bid £15.9m for the World Cup star. However, a row between the Argentine's agent and the Portuguese outfit have seen negotiations encounter a major sticking point.
Meanwhile, the Red Devils have been linked with a move for Netherlands utility-man Daley Blind, who currently plies his trade for Eredivisie outfit Ajax. According to reports, the club talks to secure his signature in the last few days, with the Dutchman already in England to house-hunt. Available for £17 million, Blind could be the ideal alternative to the Argentina international.
Both players have featured for their respective nations in the summer World Cup. Below we look at the two players’ tournament statistics, courtesy of Opta, to decide who would be the best option ahead of next season.
Rojo more often played in central defence for Sporting which is probably why he is attracting Louis van Gaal’s attention as a potential left-sided player in a back three or as a left-sided wing back. Blind, on the other hand, is capable on either flank, in the centre, or even as a defensive midfielder.
|Team||Pos||Pass Acc (%)||Pass /App||Cross Acc (%)||Key Pass /App||Dribble /App||Tackle /App||Intercept /App||Clear /App||Apps||Mins|
The Lisbon-man offered far greater protection to his nation's back-four, as the average statistics per appearance clearly show. Rojo averaged seven defensive actions each match, managing 15 interceptions, 26 interceptions and won 17 tackles as part of a solid Argentina back line, while Blind averaged four, weighing in with 16 tackles, 12 interceptions and 17 clearances.
However, as is the case with the majority of modern-day full-backs, the duo are equally as adept at going forward as they are in fulfilling the standard defensive duties.This is vital as Van Gaal needs his wide men to support his side's attacks, as well as quash the threat posed by opposition wingers.
Blind's tournament, for example, will be remembered for his astonishing cross in the build-up to Robin Van Persie's meticulous diving header versus Spain. The Dutchman registered a further two assists, taking his final tally to three; the second highest total of the competition.
Despite failing to create a single goal in Brazil, Argentina's Rojo proved the more creative of the duo. With nine key passes to his name, his pacey exploits down the left flank saw him earn rave reviews. When you consider Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta - widely regarded as the best right-back in the English top flight - made less of an impression throughout the tournament, Rojo's performances were exceptional.
Blind is more adept when in possession. He has proven his ability to operate in Van Gaal's dynamic system during the Netherlands' participation in Brazil, and this factor is likely to weigh heavily in his favour. With an 87% pass completion rate he is more than capable when it comes to maintaining control of a game, although his ability to dribble past an opponent leaves a lot to be desired. Rojo offers more in this department, considering he completed each and every attempted take on in Brazil.
Based on the statistics, Rojo emerges with as the superior option; this is sure to surprise a few. The Argentine international proved the more effective in both his defensive and attacking exploits throughout his involvement in Brazil.
Whether Van Gaal is happy to make a move is another question altogether. The Dutchman could see the 24-year-old's temperament as a major repellent. After all, the manner in which he has handled speculation linking him with a move to Old Trafford hasn't exactly been professional.