United's vision becomes clear with Blind
Manchester United's search for reinforcements is ongoing, but with the Premier League starting in a matter of days, you sense a breakthrough is imminent.
Specifically in the case of Ajax's Daley Blind, the versatile defender looks to be on his way to Old Trafford. He's training on his own as his future looks to be away from Amsterdam.
"He has been training by himself. I think he has done that because there's something going on," said Ajax youth coach Richard Witschge.
Blind brings the pedigree that Phil Jones and others lack. He is the current Dutch player of the year and a bid in the region of 20 million pounds should be enough to persuade the reigning Eredivisie champions to sell.
"I think Daley Blind will be leaving soon. I have a feeling," added Witschge.
You can understand why Blind fits Louis van Gaal's remit. Firstly, the Dutchman is left-footed, which will help him complement the right-footed alternatives while also providing another avenue for the team to play from the back. Although Van Gaal has been impressed by the work of youngsters Michael Keane and Tyler Blackett, he is on the record as saying they are not ready for an extended run in the team. Marnick Vermijl, 22, has been around the first-team squad for two years now without breaking through and falls into a similar bracket.
Van Gaal, of course, knows Blind well. He played him on the left side of the Dutch team he took to third place at the World Cup. His acquisition could in theory be considered the first Van Gaal signing -- Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera were both targeted by David Moyes and the Scot's successor merely ratified the moves.
Blind came through the youth ranks at Ajax and returned there in 2010 after a spell at FC Groningen. He can play at centre-half, left-back and in midfield, providing competition for new signing Shaw as well as others. His arrival would strengthen the defensive department of the team and keep the other players on their toes.
At present, United are short of personnel for Van Gaal's preferred 3-5-2 formation, which could lead to complacency in some quarters. Blind's arrival puts everyone under pressure and should up performance levels all around the squad. Considering United shipped 21 goals at home last season, that can only be a good thing.
A certain jumpiness remains around supporters after the madcap buffoonery of last summer's transfer window, however. Thomas Vermaelen's deal from Arsenal apparently fell through because Arsene Wenger wanted Chris Smalling in part-exchange. But the Arsenal manager never wanted to sell to United, leaving the fallen champions to pursue other options.
Mats Hummels had been touted as another potential recruit but that seems unlikely at this stage.
With those two drifting off the radar there were fears United could end another summer with ifs and buts in the market rather than secured signings. Blind's arrival would go some way in allaying fears over executive vice chairman Ed Woodward's ability to negotiate the transfer market.