Manchester United Buys Ajax’s Daley Blind for $23 Million

Manchester United, the club that aims to win its first Premier League match of the season today against newly promoted Burnley, signed Daley Blind from AFC Ajax NV for 17.5 million euros ($23 million).

“Ajax and Manchester United have reached an agreement on the transfer of Daley Blind,” Amsterdam-based Ajax said in an e-mailed statement today. Blind, 24, is a regular on the Dutch national team and can play left back or on the midfield. The local daily De Telegraaf reported earlier today Blind signed for four years at United with an option for a fifth, citing people it didn’t identify.

United is adding to its squad under new coach Louis van Gaal after finishing seventh of 20 teams last season, its worst Premier League performance. Last week, Manchester bought Argentine winger Angel Di Maria for a British record of 59.7 million pounds ($99 million). Di Maria signed a five-year contract.

Van Gaal, who won national league titles with Ajax, FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich, was handed a 4-0 drubbing in the League Cup by Milton Keynes Dons of England’s third tier on Aug. 27. United lost its opening game in the Premier League 2-1 at home to Swansea and was held to a 1-1 draw at Sunderland. United’s league slump last season means the team failed to make the Champions League, the elite competition from which it earned 44.8 million euros last season.

Blind rose to the spotlight after his two assists in Netherlands’ opening match of this year’s World Cup versus Spain, which ended in a 5-1 victory for the Dutch. Blind played a total of 143 matches for Ajax and scored three goals, Ajax said. He was named player of the season in the Netherlands last year and has won four national league titles. He has 19 caps. He’s the son of assistant coach Danny Blind of the national team who also played for Ajax when Van Gaal was the coach.

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