Sunderland in race to use van Aanholt cash in final days of transfer window

Sunderland are stepping up the search for new signings to bolster their injury-hit squad '“ with Patrick van Aanholt finally set to seal his move to Premier League relegation rivals Crystal Palace.

Saturday, 28th January 2017, 5:00 am
Heading to Crystal Palace: Patrick van Aanholt

A whopping £14million offer was accepted after the left-back made it clear he no longer wanted to play for Sunderland and slapped in a transfer request.

Van Aanholt spent yesterday in London undergoing his medical and, barring any last-minute hitches, the transfer should be confirmed today.

David Moyes was willing to let van Aanholt leave in order to help fund new signings – with a left-back, central midfielder and striker on the wishlist before Tuesday’s 11pm deadline.

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Bordeaux left-back Diego Contento is a strong option, while Bryan Oviedo remains a target despite Everton’s reluctance to let the Costa Rican leave in this transfer window.

Swansea City’s Neil Taylor is also on the shortlist to replace van Aanholt.

But a loan deal is most attractive to the cash-strapped Black Cats as it would free up funds for other areas, with 26-year-old Contento available as a short-term option.

German-born Contento, who won the Bundesliga three times during his time at Bayern Munich, has made 14 appearances for Bordeaux this season.

Victor Anichebe’s injury means Moyes also desperately needs to add firepower given Anichebe and van Aanholt are joint-second top scorers with three goals each.

Napoli frontman Manolo Gabbiadini won’t be arriving on Wearside, though, despite reports in Italy linking Sunderland with a move. Southampton are favourites to secure his signature.

The van Aanholt deal represents a sizeable profit for Sunderland, who rejected a £7million offer from the Eagles earlier this week.

Sunderland held out for their valuation for a man who joined them from Chelsea for just £1.5million in July 2014.

Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain said: “If a player openly states he does not want to play for our club, then it is clear that we have a decision to make.

“In this instance and in regard to this particular player, we have done what we feel is right for Sunderland, which will always be our priority.”

The move will see the 26-year-old – who signed a bumper new contract at Sunderland in the summer – team up again with former boss Sam Allardyce.

Van Aanholt was arguably Sunderland’s most improved player last season under Allardyce, but his defending has again come under scrutiny this season.

“His contribution, in terms of assists and goals, was massive,” said Allardyce.

“When it came to defending, he got better with me and listened to what we told him about where the weaker side of his game was and he made it stronger.

“If everything goes well, I look forward to him joining me again.”