Hi Koos! It came as a bit of a surprise last night when news emerged in England that Sunderland were very close to signing Patrick van Aanholt from Chelsea. As some will already know, Patrick has spent the last two and a half seasons on loan at Vitesse from Chelsea.
Yes, I was very surprised about this move too. It almost looked certain Van Aanholt was ready to join Feyenoord Rotterdam.
Feyenoord’s head coach, Fred Rutten, is the coach Van Aanholt reveled under during his spell at Vitesse after a tough period under coach Van den Brom.
Some Chelsea fans have said Patrick isn’t great defensively. Is there much truth in this? Do you believe this could be a problem?
The concerns that Patrick van Aanholt isn’t great defensively are very real. However, this does not have to be a problem, in my opinion.
It all depends on the style of play Gus Poyet is pursuing. Patrick van Aanholt would blossom in an attacking formation supported by solid central defenders and an anchor man on the midfield.
What was Patrick’s relationship with the Vitesse fans like? Would you say he was an honest player that gives his all?
Patrick’s relationship with the Vitesse fans was great.
It is not often that you see a loan player from a much larger club taking the time for fans, taking pictures and answering questions. His determination and attacking spirit was a good a fit with the fans of Vitesse.
Do you think Patrick will be a success in the Premier League? Do you believe he’s ready yet to play at a high level? He’s still very young at twenty-three years old, but has played a lot of football in the past couple of years.
I have my doubts about whether Patrick van Aanholt is ready for the Premier League or not.
In my opinion, the Premier League is the strongest competition in the world. It is also one of the most physical competitions in the world, and that is where my doubts come from. Van Aanholt is a player that depends on his speed, and physically he is not a very strong player.
He will struggle against the stronger players within in the Premier League, both offensively and defensively. The Dutch Eredivisie is a much more tactical competition, so attacking players often do well here due to the style of play.
I am not sure If Van Aanholt can make that transition - only time will tell.
We keep hearing about how Patrick nearly made the Holland squad at the World Cup – do you believe he should have gone? Do you think he deserved his place in the national side?
Yes, he did nearly make it to the World Cup. This type of player could have made an impact in Van Gaal’s formation that was set up with the central back three and more forward positioned wing backs.
However, competition was strong with Daley Blind, Jetro Willems and Stoke City’s Erik Pieters being contenders. Van Gaal opted for the slower, yet more intelligent, Daley Blind. A decision I can agree with.
Gus Poyet likes Sunderland to play attractive football and, as a part of his philosophy, he likes his full backs to be able to attack and provide good delivery from wide areas. Do you think Patrick will fit into our side well?
Attacking football is Van Aanholt’s game.
With his pace and timed forward runs he can create danger on the opposition’s territory. His deliveries however are something Van Aanholt needs to work on. He makes the run, creates the space but his deliveries are often disappointing.
What would you say Patrick’s weaknesses are?
Amongst many strong points, Van Aanholt definitely has some weaknesses. Defensively he’s weak, he’s not a very intelligent player in my opinion and he has to work on his physical fitness if he wants to perform in the Premier League.
And finally – what is your greatest memory of Patrick’s time at Vitesse?
My fondest memory of Patrick van Aanholt was his performance in the win that we stole at SC Heerenveen.
After being 2-0 down in the second half at the Abe Lenstra stadium we managed to win 3-2 after a magnificent goal from Patrick in the dying seconds of the game. Lucas Piazon made a run, pulled the ball back for Van Aanholt who came rushing in and placed the ball in the top right corner with the inside of his foot.
(Goal at 3:05)