The Colombia international provides Louis van Gaal with a selection headache in attack, while Blind's versatility gives the Dutchman options to rotate in defence and midfieldBy Chris Davie
After a total spend of nearly £160 million, Louis van Gaal must now find a way to fit his summer arrivals into a cohesive system at Manchester United.
The prospect of three leading strikers in Radamel Falcao, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie will provide the Dutchman with a selection headache as one is almost certainly set to miss out on a starting place every week.
Daley Blind's arrival from Ajax adds an extremely versatile player to United's squad - but it's currently unclear where Van Gaal sees the Netherlands international fitting in.
Goal looks at some the options Van Gaal has at his disposal.
|ALL THE SUMMER SIGNINGS INCLUDED
Should Van Gaal wish to cram all six of his major summer signings into a starting formation, 4-3-3 could be the Dutchman’s most-viable option. But even then, there would be serious flaws with United’s system.
Despite being deployed on the left side of defence for the majority of Netherlands’ World Cup campaign, Blind shone in a midfield anchor role for Ajax and would be better suited to a similar position at United.
The 4-3-3 also lacks width on United’s right flank. Jones could be rotated with Antonio Valencia or Rafael but he is the more solid defensive option, and that sturdiness would be needed given the lack of cover from midfield.
In attack, both Van Persie and Rooney would play either side of Falcao, who would operate as United’s focal point.
Given Van Gaal’s perseverance with a 3-5-2 and his ruthless selection policy, will Falcao automatically oust Rooney or Van Persie?
The Dutchman has three top-quality strikers at his disposal but he faces the prospect of leaving one on the bench for the start of every game if he continues with his system.
Rooney and Van Persie managed 38 Premier League goals between them in their first season together at Old Trafford. Their partnership was disrupted by the Dutchman's injuries last term but if both are fit and on form, Van Gaal has a selection headache.
Dropping a striker, however, allows United to have a more balanced midfield. Michael Carrick or Blind could play as the holding midfielder, which would allow Ander Herrera to operate as Van Gaal’s vital No.8. Juan Mata could be deployed in a central role, while Angel Di Maria is a natural left winger and would also thrive in his preferred position.
|BLIND IN MIDFIELD BUT VAN PERSIE OUT
Shifting Blind into midfield behind Ander Herrera would likely see Johnny Evans move into central defence alongside Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones.
But as highlighted during the goalless draw with Burnley on Saturday, United would still lack a player who is willing to assertively distribute the ball from defence.
Blind’s impressive range of passing was showcased at the World Cup and the Dutchman fits the bill of a ball-playing defensive option nicely.
In attack, Rooney would partner Falcao but would operate behind the Colombia international.
|A MIDFIELD WITHOUT MATA
Many have backed Rooney to evolve into a central midfielder and the England captain could take the place of Mata as United’s link between midfield and attack.
Whilst being tidy in possession, Mata has struggled to impose himself this season, particularly in United’s attacking third.
The Spaniard has created just three chances in three games his season, considerably less than Chelsea duo Cesc Fabregas (10), Eden Hazard (10), Liverpool's Raheem Sterling (7), and Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey (6).
|JANUZAJ & DI MARIA ON WINGS
Adnan Januzaj has yet to start in the Premier League this season but the Belgium international could provide the balance Van Gaal needs on United’s right.
The back four of Jones, Marcos Rojo, Blind and Luke Shaw would provide a solid base but the midfield duo of Mata and Herrera lacks bite. Januzaj and Di Maria offer excellent wide options but Van Gaal would still be forced to bench one of Falcao, Rooney or Van Persie with a four-man defence.