Daley Blind may not be the eye-catching player that excites crowds and causes stadiums to erupt, but the jobs that he does carry out are of incredible importance.
Blind was a key mechanical component in the success of Louis van Gaal’s 5-3-2/3-1-4-2 formation at the World Cup, and it looks like is keen on using the former Ajax man in the same formation at Manchester United.
Blind’s key quality is his ability to do the simple things well. Although you take for granted things such as retrieving possession and keeping it for granted; they need to be done.
Blind is quite happy to do the more unpretentious jobs and will sit deep in the midfield for Van Gaal, acting as protection for his vulnerable defence.
So far this season Manchester United's defence has looked the frailest area of the whole of the team, which is why it is questionable that they did not inject some more cash into strengthening that area. While that hasn't been the case, Blind will help to prevent goals scored against Van Gaal's side.
Another feature of Blind’s game which will help improve Manchester United is his flexibility. The 24-year-old will quite happily support the defence by covering a defender's position if one is found out of it.
This is a perfect trait to help prevent counter-attacks. Blind’s versatility does not end there though. If Ajax were losing, then Blind would often take up a more advanced position. Whether it be a central role or out left, he would help Ajax to pile on the pressure and attack in numbers. Versatility will be a quality treasured by Manchester United, especially if they are to encounter any injuries throughout the course of the season.
With the Netherlands, Van Gaal faced a similar problem to what he faces now at Manchester United: he had an explosive attack with a defence that did not compare to that of similar opposition. If anyone helped to shield that defence, it was Blind.
His interceptions, tackles and his ability to comfortably play the ball around helped take the pressure of the Dutch defence. This is the exact job that will be expected of him by Van Gaal again as he seeks to take the Red Devils forward.
Blind was often used as a wing-back for Van Gaal during the World Cup, but the jobs that he carried out were mainly the same and he would often drift into the centre of the field to help provide cover for the defence.
Isn’t Blind a left-back?
A huge amount of football fans have asked why do Manchester United need another left-back? The truth is Blind, isn’t a left-back. He may have played there for Frank De Boer at Ajax on occasion but his qualities are a more tailored to that of a defensive midfield player.
If called upon, Blind would slot in well at left-back - or left wing-back position as it is under Van Gaal - but predominantly Blind is a defensive midfielder.
Blind could well be the player to stabilise this feeble Manchester United defence that lacks both leadership and confidence.
His contribution to a weak defence is essential and this is why Blind’s transfer could well the most important of all the business conducted by Manchester United this summer.
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