Ajax boss Erik ten Hag has confirmed that the Dutch club is “doing everything” possible to complete the signing of Daley Blind this summer.
The defender, despite starting Manchester United’s opening three games, found himself consigned to the periphery for the majority of the 2017/18 campaign, managing just three starts since late November.
He has been expected to leave for some time and Ajax, his former club, have emerged as the obvious favourites to secure his signature.
But Ten Hag, speaking over the weekend, has made it seem as if United are playing hardball over the Dutchman’s future.
“[He is] a player with a lot of experience, in the Premier League and in the Dutch national team,” he said.
“He is a stable personality. Just like the arrival of Dusan Tadic, this also counts as a considerable effort of the club. We are doing everything, but it also depends on other parties.”
United are open to selling Blind, alongside fellow defensive outcast Matteo Darmian, but will not do so for cheap. Blind has a year left on his contract and the club will hope to recoup most of the £13.8m they spent on him in 2014.
But it looks as if Blind is going nowhere until the club can locate another full-back. Diogo Dalot, just 19-years-old, cannot single handedly solve the club’s crisis in that position, after all. Only when another name comes in can Blind, who needs a fresh start elsewhere, move away for pastures new.
With exactly a month left until the transfer window shuts, this is not a problem the club would have expected to deal with. Blind – and Darmian – will report back to training at Carrington today and that alone is a sign things are not right.
Mourinho would have wanted both players moved on by this time to make way for additions at left-back and central defence. But with pre-season ticking off in less than a week, United’s transfer window consists of a midfielder from Ukraine, a teenager with eight senior caps to his name, and Lee Grant.
The sight of Fellaini, Darmian and Blind all staying, while Anthony Martial heads the other way to be replaced by nobody, is a gloomy sign of United stagnating this window, falling further and further behind Manchester City in the process.