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Daley Blind leaves Manchester United for Ajax on a four-year deal

Daley Blind has left Manchester United for a return to Ajax, four years after making the move from his hometown club. United signed Blind for £13.8 million in the summer of 2014, with United then being managed by Louis van Gaal. Blind was a good signing at the time, based on the fact he could play as a left-back, a left wing-back, a central defender or even a defensive midfielder. The 28-year-old made a total of 141 appearances for United, starting 132 times and coming off the bench nine times, scoring six goals for his club.

Blind made his debut on the 14 September 2014 with United beating Queens Park Rangers 4-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League. His first goal for his club came just over a month later in a 2-2 draw against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns with the Dutchman scoring the goal which earned a point for United, three minutes from time. He scored his United second goal that season, against West Ham United at Upton Park, a 92nd-minute equaliser, earning another point for United on the road.

The following season (2015/16), Blind scored two more goals; the opening goal in the 3-1 Premier League victory over Liverpool at Old Trafford and the second goal in a 3-1 victory over Derby County at Pride Park in the fourth round of the FA Cup. During the 2016/17 season, Blind scored once, the opening goal in the 3-1 Premier League victory over Sunderland at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, the same match that Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored his scorpion kick goal. Blind scored his last United goal against Benfica in the UEFA Champions League last season.

During his short career at United, Blind has achieved a lot. Under Louis van Gaal, United won the Emirates FA Cup, beating Crystal Palace at Wembley at the end of the 2015/16 season, Blind’s second season at the club. With Van Gaal being sacked shortly after that victory, which brought the club their first major honour post-Sir Alex Ferguson, paving the way for Jose Mourinho to become the new manager. In Mourinho’s first season, not only did United win the FA Community Shield, but the EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League were won.

Blind was a crucial player in the Europa League final in Stockholm, Sweden, against his former club, now current club. The Dutchman is a player that had many supporters at the club, myself included. Last season, he made 17 appearances in all competitions, 14 as a starting player, scoring once. For a player of his capabilities, it was not enough and despite his contract being extended by a further year, which was an option from his original contract, it was clear the player would seek an exit from the club.

Ajax has signed a player who they already trust to deliver for the club. A player, who despite already having a lot of experience before leaving four years ago, returns with even more. Blind will be missed at the Old Trafford club but if a player is not in the plans of the manager, keeping them would in effect be pointless. It was reported on Monday that Blind had met up with Ajax at St George’s Park, whilst on their training camp this summer with United confirming that the player was on the move on Monday evening, confirming the departure today.

Using his Facebook and Twitter accounts to pay respect to the Old Trafford club, his teammates, the manager, coaches and more importantly, the supporters, Blind gave a statement of thanks for his incredible time at the club which resulted in him winning four trophies, three of them being major honours. The Dutchman said:

“First of all, I want to say how proud I am to be a part of the Manchester United family. To play for the biggest club in the world with such a history meant a lot to me. I had four great years with four trophies!

“I want to thank everyone, the Managers, coaches, the medical department, everyone who helped me to settle in so quick at the beginning, of course, my teammates and last but definitely not least the fans! I want to thank you for all the love and support I received and still get.

“I will never forget some of the special games and moments, I will miss you ‘The Theatre of Dreams’! But now its time to go home.”

Ajax, in the United Kingdom as part of their pre-season tour, made the announcement in a tremendous way, using the Three Lions song to announce; ‘He’s coming home, he’s coming home, he’s coming, Daley’s coming home’. You can see the video embedded below. Blind has signed a four-year contract with his former club, with a transfer fee being confirmed as €16 million. Ajax will play both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Walsall on Thursday, ahead of their UEFA Champions League qualifier against Sturm Graz with a home friendly against Konyaspor sandwiched in between.

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