Manchester United have all-but wrapped up a deal for Dutch international Daley Blind after the Red Devils agreed a £13.8 million fee with Eredivise champions Ajax.
The 24-year-old is a versatile defender capable of playing both at left-back and as a defensive midfielder, but more importantly he is accustomed to Van Gaal’s renowned 3-5-2 formation.
After a poor start to the season, United desperately needed to add more faces and the imminent acquisition of Blind for a moderate price represents an excellent piece of business…or does it?
Former Liverpool striker and now football pundit Stan Collymore has questioned the deal and believes that the Eredivisie Player of the Year lacks the pace to fit in with United’s footballing philosophy.
“Just don't understand the Blind move. Watched him in training at Ajax a lot, games at Ajax, WC and technically good as he is (all Ajax players are), he doesn't have the pace for #MUFC philosophy. Still no combative CM or world class CD,” he wrote in his SportsYapper blog.
Blind was a regular under van Gaal at this summer’s World Cup and was often alternated at either left wingback or left centre-back.
None of the Dutch back-line were known to be particularly quick, therefore it was their positional sense and ability to read the game which helped them shut out the likes of Argentina, Chile and Brazil over the 90 minutes.
|Team||Pos||Won Tackle||Effective Clearance||Interception Won||Challenge Lost||Apps||Mins|
|Stefan de Vrij||Netherlands||DF||20||50||25||5||7||677|
|Bruno Martins Indi||Netherlands||DF||11||9||5||9||6||456|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, Blind performed admirably in terms of tackles made but an alarming statistic could point to his lack of interceptions in comparison with his teammates and the high number of challenges lost.
Whether this is down to a lack of pace or strength remains to be seen, but in the fast-paced game of the Premier League, he will certainly be put to the test and United supporters will hope that Collymore’s initial assessment proves incorrect.
Does Daley Blind lack the pace to succeed at Manchester United?