Daley Blind had been on the radar of Manchester United since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but he officially made the move to the Red Devils from Ajax only on transfer deadline day.
The 24-year-old defender was left out of Ajax’s final game of last month – a 2-0 away win against FC Groningen in the Eredivisie – as he was finalising his move to the Premier League giants (click here to read more).
Ajax coach Frank de Boer had always maintained that he wanted Blind’s future to be sorted sooner rather than later, but in the end it did not pan out that way.
The club’s director of football, Marc Overmars, has come in for criticisms for the late decision on the Netherlands international’s future, but Ajax’s marketing director Edwin van der Sar has defended his compatriot.
‘Daley Blind had an expiring contract with Ajax 15 months ago so he could have left on a free transfer’, the former Manchester United goalkeeper told De Telegraaf, according to Insidefulbol.com.
‘The club signed him on a new contract and now he has left for a considerable amount of money to join one of the biggest clubs in the world’.
What will be of interest to United supporters is the fact that the Manchester outfit could have signed Blind for free just over a year ago and saved themselves the £14 million transfer fee they had to cough up.
It is easy to understand why the 20-time English champions did not make a move. Louis van Gaal was the Netherlands coach at the time so they did not have any connection to Blind.
In fact, had the 63-year-old not been appointed the Red Devils’ boss in May, then they may not have even gone for the versatile Blind, who can play in defensive midfield and at left-back.
Moreover, the 2013-14 season was arguably Blind’s best in his career to date. He was a key player in Ajax’s Eredivisie triumph and then helped the Netherlands reach the semi-finals of the World Cup. That certainly brought him into the attention of big European clubs.
Blind is 24 and has been playing first-team football for Ajax for a while, but he had not been linked with a move to United until Van Gaal came into the picture. One thing is very much clear: Blind is Van Gaal’s signing, not United’s.