The agent of Ajax defender Vurnon Anita has claimed today that Sunderland are one of the teams who have expressed an interest in his client, although them up the road are the only club to have made a formal bid, which has in turn rejected last month.
The Dutchman, who has three caps to his name is represented by Harry Lulofs, who said in the press today;
What I understand from Ajax is that there are some Premier League clubs in England who are seriously interested. Clubs like Aston Villa, Norwich City, Sunderland and Newcastle United have asked about the status of the player.
It's also known that Anita is keen to secure a move to the Premier League, however does concede that it may not be entirely possible at the moment with him still under contract at the Eredivisie side;
The Premier League is a top competition where I would want to play. Ajax say they won't let me go and I'm tied up here until 2014. It would be no punishment to stay, but you never know.
This would appear to be the main sticking point. Anita is a good solid player, and Ajax have absolutely no need to sell at the moment. It's slightly different to the Aiden McGeady situation we reported on yesterday who is also contracted to 2014 as it appears Anita's convictions to leave aren't quite as high as that of the Irishman currently with Spartak Moscow. In addition Anita only signed a new contract last year.
Ajax are known to be tough negotiators too. Look at the drawn out transfer of Jan Vertonghen to Tottenham Hootspur for example. Reports indicate from Holland that they have a very strict policy on selling players. They have a price, and if it's not met then they aren't doing business. It's said that Newcastle's opening bid was around the £5m mark.
Anita has made over 100 appearances for Ajax, predominantly at left-back, but with the versatility to fill in in a defensive midfield role when needed. Anita would certainly provide superb competition with Kieran Richardson should he stay with the club, or be an excellent replacement for him if he goes. Ideally, we'd have both of course, but Anita is a top quality player.
The cynical view could be that this is just the agent encouraging a bidding war in order to get to the price Ajax demand, although whoever gets him should be getting a very good player regardless of fee, on the cusp of entering the prime of his career.