According to Dutch media giant De Telegraaf, Manchester United defender Daley Blind has departed Old Trafford and returned to Ajax. De Telegraaf journalist Mike Verweij reports that Blind has signed a four-year deal with the Dutch club and could cost Ajax up to $24.5 million, with $18.7 million guaranteed.
Blind is a product of the famed Ajax youth system, and played for the senior side for four years before moving to Manchester United in the summer of 2014 and became an immediate starter under Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal. He made 141 appearances for the Red Devils across all competitions, with his versatility allowing him to play at center-back, left-back, or at defensive midfielder.
However, Blind’s role began to decline in the latter stages of 2015 with the arrival of Jose Mourinho, and played sparingly in the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons. After peaking with 35 appearances in the 2015/16 Premier League season, the 28-year-old made 23 appearances in the 2016/17 season with 20 starts, and then slumped to just seven total Premier League appearances last campaign as Manchester United finished a distant second behind Manchester City in the table.
Ajax has predominantly been a selling club in the past, looking to capitalize off its prolific youth system. However, this summer they have proven contenders in the transfer market, with Blind the club’s fourth signing after Southampton star Dusan Tadic, young Burkina Faso winger Hassane Bande, and former Fulham midfielder Zakaria Labyad. They have balanced that out somewhat with the departure of another talented youngster in 19-year-old Justin Kluivert to AS Roma.
Blind’s transfer fee makes him the incoming transfer record for Ajax, topping then-19-year-old Miralem Sulijmani back in 2008.