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Football: Man Utd reach agreement to sign Blind

Manchester United announced on Saturday (Aug 30) that they have reached an agreement to sign versatile Netherlands international Daley Blind from Ajax. 

LONDON: Manchester United announced on Saturday (Aug 30) that they have reached an agreement to sign versatile Netherlands international Daley Blind from Ajax. "MUFC has reached agreement with Ajax to sign Daley Blind, subject to a medical and personal terms," United said in a statement on the club's official Twitter page. "A further announcement will be made when the process is complete."

Blind, 24, was in United coach Louis van Gaal's World Cup squad in Brazil, where he helped Holland reach the semi-finals, and can play at left-back and as a defensive midfielder. Subject to agreeing personal terms and passing a medical examination, Blind is poised to become United's fifth close-season signing, as Van Gaal seeks to restore the club's flagging fortunes.

United have already spent over £130 million (S$269 million, US$215 million, €165 million) on new players, including a British-record transfer fee of £59.7 million (S$124 million, US$98 million, €75 million) to sign Argentina winger Angel di Maria from Real Madrid. They have also signed England left-back Luke Shaw from Southampton, Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao, and Di Maria's international team-mate Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon.

Dutch newspapers confirmed that a deal for Blind's transfer was imminent. "Last (Friday) night, the 19-time international and his business manager Rob Jansen were in deep discussions about a five-year contract with Manchester United," the popular broadsheet De Telegraaf reported. "If Ajax and Van Gaal's club agree over a fee ... the Dutch international is packing his suitcase and by Monday he'll report to (new) Dutch national coach Guus Hiddink ... as a United player," the paper said.

A transfer fee has not been made public, but Dutch media reports say Blind will cost United between €18 million (S$37.3 million, US$23.6 million, £14.2 million) and €20 million.

The son of former Dutch international defender Danny Blind, Daley impressed at the World Cup and played a key role as Van Gaal's side took third place behind Germany and Argentina. A product of the famed Ajax youth academy, he can play in a variety of positions, and is familiar with the 3-4-1-2 playing system that Van Gaal has introduced at Old Trafford.

That versatility is attractive to Van Gaal, who has seen his new side make a stumbling start to the season with a home loss to Swansea City and a draw at Sunderland in the league followed by a disastrous 4-0 League Cup loss to third-division Milton Keynes Dons.

Van Gaal is expected to sell a number of players before the transfer window closes on Monday as he seeks to restructure his squad. England midfielder Tom Cleverley is in talks with Aston Villa, Japan playmaker Shinji Kagawa has been linked with Valencia and former club Borussia Dortmund, and Mexican striker Javier Hernandez is a reported target for Juventus.

Van Gaal will be hoping to see his side record their first competitive win under his charge when they take on promoted Burnley in the league at Turf Moor later on Saturday, with Di Maria set to make his debut.