Daley Blind may have been a jack of all trades at Manchester United, but the Dutchman has proved to be a very good central defender during his career.
Blind rotated between defence and midfield at Old Trafford. Yet it is no surprise that his stint at centre-back coincided with United’s last trophy win.
As United strive for Europa League glory once more, talk will turn to their previous triumph. Back then, Blind was United’s left-sided centre-back. And, despite talk of necessary balance, the club are yet to replace him.
Marcos Rojo was never the answer and it is interesting that both he and Blind were more commonly used as full-backs.
United have not had an out-and-out left-sided centre-half for years and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer allegedly wants to put that right.
According to the Daily Record, United are targeting £22.5million-rated Gabriel Maghalhaes this summer.
An exciting target and worthy successor
The 22-year-old is that much-hailed left-sided defender who could challenge Victor Lindelof for a starting spot alongside skipper Harry Maguire.
Given Gabriel’s alleged price-tag, it is no surprise if United are interested. He would represent a genuine bargain in an age when they are few and far between.
Blind proved at Ajax just how good a centre-back he is. After all, he helped his current side reach the Champions League semi-final. So to say he is underrated is no surprise.
Lindelof has done well in recent times, while Eric Bailly’s talent is undeniable – if it wasn’t for those damn injuries. The future looks bright with Axel Tuanzebe and Teden Mengi at United. And yet every player mentioned is predominantly right-footed.
Blind has a wand of a left-foot – as that pass in the World Cup testified. Now, with Gabriel allegedly on United’s radar, they could finally solve another problem, adding balance to a team that is on a steep upward curve.
Only time will tell if United seal a deal for Gabriel. But, given his age, talent and price-tag, it seems a no-brainer.
Blind may have left in 2018. But he offered something some United fans may not have noticed until he was gone.