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Van Aanholt 'no longer wanted to be here', but Diego Contento would come with warnings

Patrick van Aanholt is undergoing a medical today as his move to Crystal Palace nears completion. Sunderland have this morning confirmed that the Dutch wing-back requested the move and that a bid has been accepted. His replacement may be Bordeaux left-back, Diego Contento, who is thought to be the subject of a loan enquiry from Sunderland; but is he any good, and would Les Girondins supporters be glad to see the back of him?

FC Bayern Muenchen v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League Final Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

So, farewell Patrick - not yet but soon likely. The Dutch left-back is widely reported as having travelled to London today for a medical with Crystal Palace to all but seal his reunion with Sam Allardyce.

Sunderland Chief Executive, Martin Bain, has confirmed that the player requested the move and that a bid has been accepted. In a statement, the club announced that they have granted van Aanholt permission to speak with Crystal Palace "after the defender advised officials he no longer wanted to play for the club and submitted a transfer request."

It's been emotional, and Patrick - it's been real. There haven't been many highlights in van Aanholt's two-and-a-half years on Wearside. A few good goals, turning out under four different managers and two great escapes from relegation. Not a great entry for his CV, and he's been as much a part of the problem at Sunderland as a means by which to find a solution.

Sunderland v Everton - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Allardyce has been courting van Aanholt since he landed the job at Selhurst Park; but ultimately, this move was the player's decision. He simply doesn't want to play for Sunderland any more.

For the 26-year-old, it makes sense. His relationship with David Moyes is not thought to have been brilliant, and he played the best football of his career under Sam Allardyce last year.

The sometime Netherlands international might even give himself a shot at making the squad for the World Cup 2018. Van Aanholt has hovered around the fringes for a few years, getting the odd international nod, but he remains way down the pecking order for the spot of left-back at Dutch HQ. But if Allardyce can get him back on song, he has an outside chance of making Russia next year.

Van Aanholt has always had an air of attitude about him. A petulant bottom-lip that has the odd wobble about it when things aren't going well and a tendency to switch off and shrug his shoulders on the regular occasion he loses his man.

So, what of his replacement then? Sunderland are thought to have enquired about taking Bordeaux left-back, Diego Contento, on loan for the rest of the season. The 26-year-old has been in France for about the same length of time as van Aanholt has been on Wearside.

FC Girondins de Bordeaux Training and Press Conference - UEFA Europa League
Contento limbering up at Anfield before Bordeaux's fixture against Liverpool in the Europa League. November 2016
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

A 2014 acquisition from Bayern Munich, the German-born player of Italian descent has never quite lived up to his München pedigree. Contento joined the Munich club at the age of five and grew up under the shadow of the Schlauchboot - the 75,000-seater home of Bayern.

Bundesliga - Bayern Munich v Hansa Rostock Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images

He represented his country at under-17 and under-20 level and managed 49 appearances during his time with the Bundesliga giants. He was signed for Bordeaux by fellow Bayern fullback, Willy Sagnol, who was sacked from his job at the Stade de Bordeaux in March last year. At the time of his transfer, the Bavarian club retained a 50% ownership of his economic rights.

Liverpool were strongly rumoured to want to take him on loan during his time in Germany. At the time, he was also attracting interest from Arsenal, Chelsea, Werder Bremen, Hertha Berlin and Napoli.

FC Bayern Muenchen v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League Final Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

But, there his links to the giants of the European game largely ended and Contento has spent the last two seasons floating around in mid-table in Ligue 1 with Bordeaux. A former teammate of Whabi Khazri, a move to Sunderland would reunite the pair and has potential for a side who are bottom of the Premier League and lacking forward-progressing options on the pitch.

There are hints of issues throughout Contento's recent past with the French club though. He was one of a number of players punished recently for seemingly leaving a training session early. He and two teammates were sanctioned by being dropped from the first team for the domestic cup semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain earlier this week. PSG romped home 4-1 winners.

And the left-back is not currently enamoured with Les Girondins supporters either with some on social media suggesting they would be glad to get him off the wage bill since news of the link to Sunderland broke last night.

Match reports from Ligue 1 this season indicate a few games in which Contento has been directly responsible for goals conceded too; and Sagnol issued him with an ultimatum last January offering him a "final chance to prove himself". For his part, the player appeared to be agitating for a move to Italy; but recently he seems to have dusted himself down and has found some form again for the French club.

Contento's defensive statistics remain impressive and he has more successful interceptions in Ligue 1 than any other player bar one; and he's versatile having turned out in midfield and central defence as well as at left-back.

His signing may be a risk - but in Sunderland's position - as a club having difficult attracting players in its current state and based on recent history - most players willing to come here will arrive loaded with potential and warnings. The sale of van Aanholt for a fee rising to £14m makes sound economic sense as well as being a pretty solid one for footballing reasons.

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