Manchester United are poised to make a move for versatile Ajax star Daley Blind, who flourished at this summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil while working under current Red Devils’ boss Louis van Gaal.
This is according to the Express, who claim that United will move for both Blind and Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen ‘imminently’.
United in battle with Barcelona
However, the Premier League giants face stiff competition for Blind’s signature from Barcelona, who themselves are keen to bolster their defensive options ahead of another gruelling campaign.
The Catalan club are keen on both Blind and Vermaelen, although a deal for the latter currently looks more likely.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger would prefer Vermaelen to move to the Camp Nou, rather than their Premier League rivals, while the Belgium international will cost a much more modest £10 million.
Blind, who was named the 2013-14 Dutch Footballer of the Year, is expected to cost his next a club a fee in the region of £17 million.
United plan to raise £100m through sales
Paying that sort of fee, though, will not be a problem for the Red Devils.
Van Gaal, despite spending close to £60 million this summer on the signings of Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera, still has a hefty transfer budget to play with.
Furthermore the veteran Dutch coach plans to axe up to six of United’s players, who he has deemed surplus to requirements, in order to generate an additional £100 million.
Daley Blind: Scout report
Do United need Daley Blind?
Manchester United fans will trust Van Gaal’s judgement with Blind, but it doesn’t appear to be a transfer that the Red Devils are crying out for.
United spent £27 million on left-back Shaw this summer, while Ashley Young has proved a revelation in the left wing-back position during the club’s successful pre-season tour of the US.
However, Blind can also play as a central midfielder and as a centre-back - and this versatility makes him an extremely attractive option for both United and Barcelona.
Van Gaal is determined to sign at least one more central defender before the summer transfer window closes on September 2, while another top-quality central midfielder also remains a priority.
But will the Manchester United manager opt to kill three birds with one stone by simply signing the talented and versatile Blind?