SUNDERLAND are looking to seal a move for Chelsea’s Patrick van Aanholt within the next 24 hours to finally ease their left-back headache.
Reports emerged last night that Sunderland were in talks with Chelsea over van Aanholt, with the defender keen to leave Stamford Bridge this summer after entering the final 12 months of his contract.
The Echo understands from London sources that the Black Cats are indeed close to landing the Dutch international and they could make a much-needed breakthrough in the transfer market today.
Van Aanholt, who came through the Chelsea ranks while Sunderland sporting director Lee Congerton was at the club, has been looking to make a permanent exit from Chelsea this summer after spending the last two-and-a-half seasons on loan at Dutch outfit Vitesse Arnhem.
That was the fifth club that van Aanholt had joined on loan – including a one-month spell at Newcastle in 2010 – with the 23-year-old making just eight first-team appearances for Chelsea.
“Where will I play next season?” said the two-time Dutch international, who has been linked with Feyenoord, earlier this month.
“I don’t know yet. It definitely won’t be at Chelsea. I am done here.”
The capture of van Aanholt will provide a welcome boost for Sunderland boss Gus Poyet, with the Black Cats heading to Portugal today with only one recognised full-back – right-back Billy Jones – on the books of the first-team squad.
Poyet has been keen to re-sign last season’s loanee Marcos Alonso on a permanent deal, but the move for the left-back has dragged on with Italian side Fiorentina haggling over a fee for the Spaniard.
After Wednesday night’s pre-season victory over Hartlepool, Poyet reiterated the pressing need for the issue to be addressed this week and van Aanholt has emerged as a viable alternative to Alonso.
Van Aanholt’s capture won’t necessarily spell the end of Sunderland’s interest in Alonso, with the Black Cats still in need of further defensive reinforcements.
But, after Poyet spoke about examining alternative targets, van Aanholt is expected to become the first arrival at the Stadium of Light since the Bosman signings of Jones, Costel Pantilimon and Jordi Gomez at the start of the summer.