Former Ajax midfielder Daley Blind reveals he turned down the North London giants as a teenager, preferring to stay at his boyhood club – the club at which his father Danny Blind won the Champions League in 1995.
The 25-year-old has had a strong if unspectacular first season with Manchester United following an outstanding 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and could well be preparing for a new position come the start of the 2015-2016 Premier League season.
Blind turned down Arsenal as a teenager
The Dutch international could have been plying his trade in the Premier League years ago with Arsenal rather than arriving on English shores in the summer of 2014 as a Manchester United player, had he not opted to continue with Ajax in the Dutch Eredivisie.
Blind is quoted by the Daily Mirror as saying, “I had the chance to move to London at a young age. I was in the Ajax academy and one day I came home from school. My mum and dad said to me: a Arsenal have called today. They want you.a
“I thought they were taking the mickey. It was my dream to be a player in the first team of Ajax but we went to Arsenal. We were there for a day. It was great. They offered to sort out everything for my schooling, so I could get my A levels.
a Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) July 28, 2015
a They also offered me an incredible contract, especially for a boy of my age. Ajax offered me a contract too at the same time. The money was nowhere near what I could earn at Arsenal. My dad left it up to me and I decided to stay at Ajax.a
The versatile Manchester United star did have his reasons for rejecting the Gunners, saying: “I said no, partially because I was lucky to have everything I needed at home.
a The other reason I decided to say no, was that secretly I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my dad, Danny. He had been captain of Ajax, won every trophy in the world with them.”
New role for Blind at Manchester United?
Manchester United have, as has been well documented, spent a lot of money this summer investing in a run-down midfield – buying Bastian Schweinsteiger from Bayern Munich as well as Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton to provide some much-needed steel at the centre of the park.
Given the Red Devils also have the likes of Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini to compete for positions in central midfield, it appears unlikely that Daley Blind will see much game time in that position.
However, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has been using his compatriot at centre-back during pre-season with some degree of success. Although it could well be because of Marcos Rojo’s absence, the fact that Sergio Ramos and NicolA?s Otamendi look increasingly likely to stay at their respective clubs means that Blind could well fill in in that role when needed during the course of the season.
Either way, it promises to be a challenging season for the Dutchman, who has a real fight on his hands to keep himself in Van Gaal’s starting XI throughout the course of next season.