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Manchester United Transfer News: Latest on Daley Blind, Juan Cuadrado and More

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 03:  Daley Blind of Ajax looks on after the 19th Johan Cruijff Shield match between Ajax Amsterdam and PEC Zwolle at the Amsterdam ArenA on August 3, 2014 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Stuart NewmanFeatured ColumnistAugust 11, 2014

We’re now just a matter of days away from finding the answer to a question that’s been on football fans’ lips all summer—how will new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal cope in the Old Trafford hot seat?

The Dutchman inherited a deflated squad when his tenure began, but summer signings and a successful pre-season have given the club a bit of optimism heading into the 2014/15 campaign.

However, Van Gaal’s work away from the pitch isn’t done quite yet, and he still has a few tricks up his sleeve as he looks to forge the Red Devils into serious title contenders.

 

Daley Blind

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 09:  Daley Blind of Ajax in action during the Eredivisie match between Ajax Amsterdam and SC Cambuur Leeuwarden at Amsterdam Arena on March 9, 2014 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

One of the United boss’ star men during his time with the Netherlands in the World Cup was the versatile Daley Blind, whose future with Ajax has come under the spotlight of late courtesy of his strong performances in Brazil.

Though deployed at left-back by Van Gaal, Blind can operate at both centre-back and in the holding-midfield role, and such is his dynamic style that Europe’s elite have come calling for his signature.

Both Barcelona and Manchester United are reportedly interested in the 24-year-old, but it appears that United are winning the race to sign him.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 09:  Daley Blind of Ajax clears the ball away from Elvis Manu of Cambuur during the Eredivisie match between Ajax Amsterdam and SC Cambuur Leeuwarden at Amsterdam Arena on March 9, 2014 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

That’s not through any powers of negotiation from the club itself, but with Barca snapping up the services of Thomas Vermaelen from Arsenal, it appears that they’ve filled their central-defensive void already.

That clears the way for United to really pursue Blind, who recently said that while he’s happy with Ajax, offers from elsewhere will be considered, per Sky Sports:

“I am happy here in Amsterdam. But if there comes another club I will have to think about it and then we will see. I will think about my options. For now I will focus on Ajax and we will see what happens next week.”

FORTALEZA, BRAZIL - JUNE 29:  Daley Blind of the Netherlands controls the ball during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Mexico at Castelao on June 29, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images
Michael Steele/Getty Images

While some United fans will argue that new signing Luke Shaw makes the Blind chase futile, the way that the Dutchman can slot into centre-back and still produce the goods makes him worth chasing.

Besides, if Shaw picks up an injury at any point during the season, the cover at wing-back in United’s ranks is sparse to say the least.

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JULY 12:  Daley Blind of the Netherlands celebrates scoring his team's second goal with teammates and head coach Louis van Gaal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Third Place Playoff match between Brazil and the Netherlands at Estadi
Celso Junior/Getty Images

Blind still has a lot to learn, and while remaining at Ajax will hardly stop his progression, playing under the manager that brings the best out of him will see his career really take off.

It’s just a question of Van Gaal digging deep into his pockets to bring his countryman to Old Trafford, but it could certainly prove to be a wise investment.

 

Juan Cuadrado

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Following Colombian Juan Cuadrado’s phenomenal display in the World Cup, it’s become harder to name teams that haven’t been linked with his signature than those that have.

It’s hardly surprising, though, as James Rodriguez aside, Cuadrado was Colombia’s shining star in Brazil.

The statistics are there to back that up, too, with OptaJohan revealing that he just pipped Blind on the assist front:

Though Cuadrado’s name has been ready to print on the back of several clubs’ shirts across Europe, it appears that he’s now in line to become a Red Devil.

Metro report, per Spanish newspaper Sport, that United have agreed personal terms with the Fiorentina star and are closing in on bringing him to Old Trafford.

While a high-profile signing, Cuadrado’s signature will come at a price, reported to be in the region of £32 million.

FLORENCE, ITALY - APRIL 19: Guillermo Cuadrado of ACF Fiorentina fights for the ball with Rafael Toloi of AS Roma during the Serie A match between ACF Fiorentina and AS Roma at Stadio Artemio Franchi on April 19, 2014 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by Gabrie
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

A staggering price to pay, sure, but the Colombian would fit perfectly into Van Gaal’s 3-5-2 system at United, with his ability to fly up and down the wing demonstrated in both Serie A last term and in the World Cup.

It’s just how he’ll manage defensively that could put the Dutchman off the move, and that’s something The Guardian’s Tor-Kristian Karlsen noted:

A £32 million gamble is pretty hefty, but Van Gaal’s desperation for wingers means that the risk is becoming more of a necessity than anything else.

As Sky Sports revealed, per the Sunday Mirror, the Dutchman recently said that the distinct lack of wingers in his setup is rather troubling, and they need a world-class figure out wide:

“At this moment, we have five No.9s and four No.10s—and we don’t have wingers to give us attacking width. Or, I should say, we don't have wingers of the highest level, like Ronaldo or Di Maria or somebody like that.”

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 05:  Angel Di Maria of Real Madrid CF celebrates scoring their third goal during the Copa del Rey semifinal first leg match between Real Madrid CF and Club Atletico Madrid at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 5, 2014 in Madrid
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Clearly, the United boss has a lot of admiration for Angel Di Maria, who is another wing option to rival Cuadrado.

The Red Devils have been linked with the Argentinian for some time, and with other clubs not willing to part with such a large fee for his services, the door has opened for United.

Whether or not it’s worth paying upward of £50 million for the Real Madrid man remains to be seen, but Van Gaal’s quest to bring a winger to Old Trafford means that one of either him or Cuadrado heading to Manchester is a real possibility.

VERONA, ITALY - APRIL 13:  Juan Cuadrado of ACF Fiorentina  looks on during the Serie A match between Hellas Verona FC and ACF Fiorentina at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on April 13, 2014 in Verona, Italy.  (Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images)
Dino Panato/Getty Images

United fans have been taken through it all in the transfer window this summer, and it’s unsurprising to see some of them adopt a policy of not believing a single word until pen is put to paper.

However, in Blind, Cuadrado and Di Maria, United have three players who would undoubtedly prove to be sensations next season, and it all rests on Van Gaal’s wise, capable shoulders.

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