Football Football

Daley to fill ‘Blind’ spot at United


BLIND-CELEBRATELONDON, August 31- Manchester United announced on Saturday that they have reached an agreement to sign versatile Netherlands international Daley Blind from Ajax.

“MUFC has reached agreement with Ajax to sign Daley Blind, subject to a medical and personal terms,” United said in a statement on the club’s official Twitter page. “A further announcement will be made when the process is complete.”

Blind, 24, was in United coach Louis van Gaal’s World Cup squad in Brazil, where he helped Holland reach the semi-finals, and can play at left-back and as a defensive midfielder.

Subject to agreeing personal terms and passing a medical examination, Blind is poised to become United’s fifth close-season signing, as Van Gaal seeks to restore the club’s flagging fortunes.

Speaking after United’s 0-0 draw at Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday, Van Gaal said: “He’ll come to Manchester to have a medical, and then we might have a new player.”

United have already spent over £130 million ($215 million, 165 million euros) on new players, including a British-record transfer fee of £59.7 million to sign Argentina winger Angel di Maria, who made his debut against Burnley.

They have also signed England left-back Luke Shaw from Southampton, Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao, and Di Maria’s international team-mate Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon.

Dutch newspaper reports claimed that Blind and his business manager Rob Hansen had been in talks with United over a five-year contract.

A transfer fee has not been made public, but Dutch media reports say Blind will cost United between 18 million ($23.6 million, £14.2 million) and 20 million euros.

The son of former Dutch international defender Danny Blind, Daley impressed at the World Cup and played a key role as Van Gaal’s side took third place behind Germany and Argentina.

A product of the famed Ajax youth academy, he can play in a variety of positions, and is familiar with the 3-4-1-2 playing system that Van Gaal has introduced at Old Trafford.

That versatility is attractive to Van Gaal, who has seen his new side make a stumbling start to the season with a home loss to Swansea City followed by draws at Sunderland and Burnley and a disastrous 4-0 League Cup loss to third-division Milton Keynes Dons.

Blind said it was a proud moment for him to sign for such a great club.

“It happened really quickly. I’m glad it turned out this way and I’m incredibly proud,” Blind told the NOS public broadcaster shortly before boarding a flight to Britain.

“I’m not the type of player who scores lots of goals in a season. I’m more a team player. My job is to help other players play better.”

United could sell a number of players before the transfer window closes on Monday as Van Gaal seeks to restructure his squad.

England midfielder Tom Cleverley is in talks with Aston Villa, Japan playmaker Shinji Kagawa has been linked with Valencia and former club Borussia Dortmund, and Mexican striker Javier Hernandez is a reported target for Juventus.

Asked about Kagawa after the draw at Burnley, Van Gaal said: “We’ll have to wait and see, because players are deciding (to leave) at the last minute, not the manager.”