Manchester United close to landing van Gaal favourite in £20m deal - report

Old Trafford 3

Manchester United could be set to land Ajax star Daley Blind after reports of a £20m agreement between the two clubs.

United have made a great start to the Louis van Gaal era, tying up the signings of Southampton left back Luke Shaw and Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera, before winning all of their pre-season games against the likes of LA Galaxy, Roma, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Liverpool.

Now, new boss van Gaal is looking to strengthen his squad having assessed the current crop of players at his disposal, with Sporting Lisbon's Marcos Rojo believed to be close to a £16m switch to Old Trafford to play as the left sided centre back in van Gaal's 3-4-1-2 system which worked so well for the Netherlands at the World Cup.

A key part of that side was Ajax star Daley Blind. The 24-year-old starts in central midfielder for Ajax in the Eredivisie, but van Gaal used him at left wing back and even at centre half in Brazil. Blind impressed in a number of games, linking up beautifully with current Red Devils striker Robin van Persie in the 5-1 drubbing of Spain, and showed off his technical ability throughout the Netherlands' run to the semi-finals.

Unsurprisingly, speculation continues to link van Gaal with a move to take Blind to Untied with him. Now, reports tonight suggest that the Red Devils are closing in on a £20m deal to snap up Blind, bringing them closer to a double swoop for two World Cup stars.

Some have already thought that signing Rojo as well as Blind was redundant given that both players featured at left back at the World Cup, but it seems clear how both players will be used. With Rojo an almost ideal fit as a left sided centre back for van Gaal, that frees up Blind to play either at left wing back as cover for Luke Shaw after Patrice Evra's exit, or even in midfield alongside Herrera after Michael Carrick sustained a long-term injury.

His versatility makes him almost perfect, and whilst £20m may seem like a large amount of money, signing a player familiar with van Gaal's system and tactics is a smart move - and signing both Rojo and Blind makes sense given the 3-4-1-2 system now being used at United.

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