Even before his appointment was officially confirmed, Manchester United were being linked with every Dutchman Louis van Gaal was working with, had worked with and hadn't worked with. The Netherlands' impressive World Cup lengthened the list of supposed targets but despite their third place finish, the general - and fair - consensus is the Oranje punched above their weight, thanks mainly to Van Gaal.
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Out of the slew of Dutchmen United are or were "interested" in, Daley Blind is the only attainable one who would represent a logical signing. Daryl Janmaat, dislodged by Dirk Kuyt, has signed for Newcastle. Stefan de Vrij has joined Lazio. Jordy Clasie will probably remain at Feyenoord. Memphis Depay is too raw for the United starting XI. Arjen Robben? No chance.
Despite his noticeable lack of pace, Blind can play at centre-back, left-wing back and central midfield. Crucially, he is familiar with Van Gaal's 3-5-2 system, whereas the majority at United are not, and he could emerge as one of Van Gaal's most trusted lieutenants at Old Trafford.
Blind boasts the clichéd cultured left foot, as he demonstrated against Spain with assists for Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben. Although the duo bagged braces in the 5-1 evisceration of the former world champions, Blind was the Netherlands' best performer in Salvador and he started all seven of their World Cup matches, scoring a tidy goal against Brazil in the third-place play-off.
Schooled at Ajax, like his father Danny, Blind has won four Eredivisie titles during the Frank de Boer era and it is time for a new challenge. United might have to pay Arsenal £10 million for Thomas Vermaelen, despite him spending the last 18 months primarily on the substitutes' bench. That is the same amount Ajax received for the Belgian, out of contract next year, in 2009. Barcelona's interest could force United to pay even more, which seems illogical when Blind can occupy both roles Vermaelen would and is four-and-a-half years younger.
With just three first-team centre-backs in his squad, Van Gaal needs alternatives. Blind is a superior footballer than Phil Jones and Chris Smalling and could compete with Luke Shaw on the left. He would also bring steel and silk to a midfield roster that still includes Darren Fletcher, Tom Cleverley and Anderson. Like Juan Mata, Blind's versatility should not be regarded as a backhanded compliment; he is not the Dutch John O'Shea.Suggest a correction