By Dave Marshall
Daley Blind has completed his return to his boyhood club, Ajax.
The 28-year-old had just 12 months left on his deal here and with no contract offer on the table, he on Monday completed the move back to the Eredivisie in a £14m deal, hoping to re-ignite his career.
In familiar surroundings, he should return to the form that saw him shine at the 2014 World Cup for Holland, who finished 3rd; and then saw his national manager, Louis Van Gaal, take him to United that same summer.
Blind can be an intelligent operator: he has defensive awareness, subtle movement off the ball and has the flexibility to play at left-back, centre-back, defensive midfield and even left wing-back.
The issue at Old Trafford has not necessarily been his performances, but the nature of his performances relative to what the manager wanted.
He was most effective in the 2015/16 season under Van Gaal, making 35 league starts that year. Since his compatriot was dismissed the following summer however, Blind has fallen down the pecking order.
Jose Mourinho appears to favour full-backs who offer discernible physical qualities. Blind, although capable, has neither pace nor power and he would therefore have struggled to get more starts.
In a remake of the famous English song, “It’s Coming Home”, Ajax announced the arrival of their former captain with a brilliant video showing flicks and highlights of his first spell in Amsterdam.
DALEY = COMING HOME!!!
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) July 17, 2018
In four years, he made 141 appearances winning The FA Cup, League Cup, Europa League and Community Shield.
He fits into Ajax’s plans to win the league title; he would certainly add experience and a winning mentality to their side, which finished four points behind PSV last term.
From our point of view, gaining a reasonable fee for him should be seen as a good move too, given that he would have been sold for a free next term.