Arsenal or Leeds United would be signing a ‘poor defender’ if Patrick van Aanholt is offered the chance to stay in the Premier League, with Gary Neville critical of the former Crystal Palace favourite (ITV Sport, 13 June, 8pm).
Memphis Depay was not the only high-profile free-agent lining up for the Netherlands ahead of Sunday’s group-stage clash with Ukraine at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
With his £50,000-a-week Crystal Palace contract expiring, Van Aanholt is playing for his future at Euro 2020.
Though while the one-time Chelsea flyer avoided giving away a penalty late in the first-half, getting enough on the ball following a desperate, last-ditch tackle on Andriy Yarmolenko, a potentially goal-saving intervention did not save Van Aanholt from a withering, half-time grilling.
“He’s wrong side. It’s typical of Van Aanholt. He’s a poor defender,” said Manchester United legend Neville, highlighting the fact that the 30-year-old had switched off earlier in the move to allow Yarmolenko a free run in the penalty area.
“I think, from certain angles, that’s a penalty. It’s always dangerous to tackle from that side. That could be a penalty.”
Van Aanholt’s relentless overlapping and all-action style means he’d have little problems fitting into the Premier League’s most entertaining side, though the flying Dutchman would not exactly improve a Leeds defence which conceded more goals than relegated Fulham in 2020/21.
Furthermore, at the wrong side of 30, does Van Aanholt have the requisite speed to make up for his lack of positional sense?
His dramatic tackle on Yarmolenko suggests that, for now, ‘PVA’ still has that burst of acceleration in his locker.