FC Bayern Munich succeeds in a small transfer coup with the commitment of Daley Blind. Considering the numerous defensive failures, the 32-year-old could indeed be a perfect replacement – a closer look at his data proves it.
Before leaving for training camp in Qatar, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic smirked when Daley Blind’s name was mentioned.
“It’s really lucky that such a player is on the market,” Salihamidzic commented on the Dutchman’s signing sky. “He signaled to us from the first minute that he really wanted to come to Bayern. We found a good solution.”
Blind landed in Munich on Thursday and signed a contract until the end of the season. Since his contract with his heart club Ajax Amsterdam was terminated at the end of the year, the 32-year-old was available on a free transfer.
“Due to the absence of Lucas Hernández, we looked around and found a very good player,” Salihamidzic said. Blind can play both as a left-back and a centre-back and as a left-footed player is a suitable replacement for Hernández, who will be out for months with a cruciate ligament rupture. But what specifically distinguishes Blind?
FC Bayern: Daley Blind bigger ball distributor than Toni Kroos
Above all, it’s worth mentioning his passing skills, meaning the 99-time Dutch international can also be used as a six-man. Thanks to his routine on the ball, Blind was a sought-after pass at Ajax. According to data from CreateFootball was played blind 65 times per game – the highest value in a European comparison.
A more detailed analysis of his passing quality shows his value, which can also be good for Bayern’s game. In the last calendar year 2022, Blind is the second most frequent passer with an average of 84.2 assists per league game compared to the five strongest leagues in Europe, only Marco Verratti (91.1 assists/ match) was an even more diligent ball distributor. Incidentally, Blind also leaves behind the passing machine Toni Kroos (84.0 assists/game).
|Most Passes*||Most vertical passes*||Most assists in attacking third*|
|1. Veratti – 91.1||1 Blinds – 39.2||1. Blinds – 18.2|
|2 blinds – 84.2||2. Ake – 34.9||2. Kroos – 16.5|
|3.Kroos – 84.0||3. Medina – 33.0||3. Laporte – 14:1|
|* Passes per league game in calendar year 2022 in Europe’s top 5 leagues and Eredivisie (dates: CreateFootball)|
What’s particularly striking is Blind’s attacking orientation in his passing game. With 39.2 vertical passes per game, he is the most important in European comparison, ahead of his compatriot Nathan Aké from Manchester City (34.9 passes/game). Additionally, Blind played the most passes in the attacking third on average (18.2 passes/game) – even more than Kroos (16.5 passes/game).
FC Bayern: Daley Blind as Matthijs de Ligt’s mentor
His quality of passing comes into its own with a dominant style of play, as practiced by Ajax in the Eredivisie. Bayern’s style of play, which is also geared towards domination, should therefore accommodate the blind. “He has great international experience and leadership qualities. I’m sure he will help us,” Salihamidzic said.
Blind is seen as a communicative player with great tactical understanding, who in this regard can also be a good mentor for his former Ajax teammate Matthijs de Ligt or regular left-back Alphonso Davies.
“I hope I can use my experience to help the team and I will give everything for Bayern Munich,” said Blind, for whom “the thirst for titles” was the deciding factor in his signing.
FC Bayern: Daley Blind was the slowest defender in the Eredivisie
Blind has speed deficits. With a top speed of less than 33km/h, he was one of the slowest defenders in the Eredivisie so far this season. At Bayern, he also finds himself behind the slowest defender Josip Stanisic, who just broke that mark with a top speed of 33.07 km/h this season.
Due to his lack of speed, Blind cannot be considered a left-back of the most modern type, who sprints down the wing and throws one cross after another into the penalty area. Just two cross attempts per game are proof of his safety, and since 2015 he’s managed just eleven manageable assists in the Eredivisie in this way. His introductory passes mentioned above are more valuable.
Blind makes up for his lack of speed with his good positional play. It also helps him in central defense, because with his height of 1.80 meters, he does not necessarily have the size of a central defender. On the pitch, Blind has won almost 70% of his duels during his career – a strong value that underpins his intelligence in his defensive work. He avoids aerial duels, which could be a weak point in central defense.
In summary, it can be said that the blind can be an important factor in Bayern’s game, mainly due to the quality of the pass. As a left-back without much attacking motivation, he’s likely to appear primarily as a starter. Blind also seems to suit the left side of a three-string, which coach Julian Nagelsmann occasionally plays when in possession of the ball.
Blind could again reach his limits against powerful and fast opponents and perhaps become a risk factor in the Champions League round of 16 against the attacking star of Paris Saint-Germain with Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi and Neymar .
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