by Lewis Ambrose
Other signing than a striker most Arsenal fans think midfield is an area where the club can improve.
That, however, may not have been the case had Arsène Wenger signed Manchester United midfielder Daley Blind when he was a teenager. The Netherlands international told the Daily Mirror about an offer Arsenal made him while he was in the Ajax Academy.
“I had the chance to move to London at a young age,” said the 25 year-old. “I was in the Ajax academy and one day I came home from school. My mum and dad said to me: ‘Arsenal have called today. They want you.’
“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.”
Speaking about the experience, Blind gave some insight into how Arsenal treat youth players from abroad. The club has just signed Donyell Malen from Ajax and he, presumably, would have received the same incentives to sign that Blind was offered nearly a decade ago.
“They offered to sort out everything for my schooling, so I could get my A-levels.
“They also offered me an incredible contract, especially for a boy of my age.”
It is pretty well known that the Gunners offer significant wages to youth players, which is just one of the many reasons that the club manages to attract so many young players from all over Europe.
“Ajax offered me a contract too at the same time. The money was nowhere near what I could earn at Arsenal,” Blind revealed. “My dad left it up to me and I decided to stay at Ajax.”
“I let a lot of money slip away then, and I can understand why some players, whose families need the money, say yes to clubs of Arsenal’s size.
“I said no, partially because I was lucky to have everything I needed at home.
“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.”
He may not have quite emulated Danny Blind (his dad) – now manager of the national team – but Daley Blind did win four consecutive Eredivisie titles with Ajax before joining Manchester United last summer. Also adept in defence, the midfielder would have been a good addition at Arsenal but these things happen and he’s plying his trade at Old Trafford instead.