He was never the most popular player on Wearside but Patrick van Aanholt raked in £14m for cash-strapped Sunderland when he moved to Crystal Palace last January.
A decent enough player when travelling forwards at pace, the Dutchman’s defensive limitations were a constant source of embarrassment for Sunderland fans and managers alike in recent years in the Premier League.
Van Aanholt’s game means he needs a genius of a coach to get the best out of him. Sam Allardyce was the only one who managed it at the Stadium of Light where lesser men like Gus Poyet, Dick Advocaat and David Moyes failed to sort him out.
So, it perhaps makes sense that the current ‘best manager in world football’, tactical master Pep Guardiola, is said to be interested in signing the 27-year-old in January. The Sun claimed yesterday that the Manchester City boss may make a move for van Aanholt to provide cover for injured full back Benjamin Mendy.
And certainly managers lacking the ability of your Guardiola’s and Big Sam’s seem to be struggling to get the best of our Patrick van Aanholt. This season, under de Boer and Hodgson, the left back has started eight games with the Palace back line shipping some 23 goals with him in the side.
The Manchester City link is most likely a load of old nonsense of course. What with Palace currently evens to drop into the Championship in May, Pat will already be looking for a way out. His abject performances in the first half of Sunderland’s relegation season should serve as a warning to Eagles fans as to what to expect when he returns from his current hamstring injury if results don’t pick up as 2018 nears.
He hasn’t been ‘all that’ this term anyway as Palace continue to struggle. This one is ‘peak’ van Aanholt - the full back somehow conspiring to gift Bristol City a goal in the Carabao Cup last month by nodding the ball into the path of Matty Taylor (Pat is the unfortunate No. 3 in the vid).
Yesterday, Patrick van Aanholt did this. Today he was named in the Netherlands provisional squad. ♂️ pic.twitter.com/uIxT9roNZt— Michael Bell (@MichaelJBell09) October 25, 2017
Whilst van Aanholt doesn’t seem to have been any more ‘terrible’ than the rest of his failing teammates, week after week games are just passing him by - though admittedly he has managed a few awful errors and continues to surrender possession too cheaply.
The former Chelsea youth did earn a recall to the Dutch squad for the latest round of international fixtures after a lengthy absence from the Netherlands set-up. But he failed to make the cut after the initial training camp held by Dick Advocaat and was sent home along with Jeremain Lens without seeing any competitive action.
But this made us chuckle yesterday. Ruled out of Palace’s game against Everton, van Aanholt had been due to make an appearance to mingle with supporters in the Selhurst Park Fan Zone. In the end he failed to show up - because it was raining.
Due to the bad weather Patrick van Aanholt's appearance in the #CPFC Fanzone has unfortunately been cancelled.— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) November 18, 2017
It wasn’t exactly torrential either. His brave teammates turned out in the drizzle to draw 2-2 with Everton and 25,526 hardy souls donned their coats and armed themselves with brollies to make their way to the ground in the spitting rain to watch it.
Same old Pat.