Manchester United are outbidding their rivals in the race to sign Ajax utility man Daley Blind, reports Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo.
The Dutchman has been perennially linked with a move to Old Trafford since Louis van Gaal was hired. A series of terrific performances at the World Cup only strengthened those reports and now it appears Manchester United are emerging as favourites.
World Cup inflation
Ajax are ready to cash in on the 24-year-old this summer, hoping to take advantage of a dramatic increase in value following the player's efforts in Brazil. They want €22 million and so far Manchester United are the only club showing a willingness to pay it.
That's no surprise. Van Gaal saw first hand how crucial Blind was to the Netherlands having been in charge of the national team during the tournament. Van Gaal's affinity towards his compatriot has placed the Red Devils at the front of the queue.
Barcelona dialing down interest
The report claims that Barcelona are preparing to dial down their efforts to sign the Holland international. Jérémy Mathieu joined from Valencia this week and Barcelona are now prioritising another natural centre-back. Blind can play as a centre-back but has made a name for himself as an anchorman in midfield.
Luis Enrique's main priority is signing struggling PSG youngster Marquinhos with Blind thought to be a backup option should a move fail. The Brazilian has only been at Parc des Princes for one season, but having just bought David Luiz, PSG manager Laurent Blanc is ready to sell for the right price.
The Dutch influence at Old Trafford is at an all time high. Van Gaal and the Holland captain Robin van Persie make Old Trafford an attractive place for anyone involved with the Oranje.
Blind is seen as a perfect addition for Van Gaal's squad, with his ability to play anywhere in defence a massive bonus for Manchester United. The Red Devils are lacking quality in several positions and Blind could plug gaps should injuries hit a particular area next season.