Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Arsenal Plot Shock Move For Crystal Palace Fullback: Is He Good Enough For The Gunners?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to Mirror, Arsenal have set their sights on Patrick van Aanholt in a desperate attempt to sign a left-back during the remaining days of the ongoing January transfer window. The Gunners have already failed in their attempts to sign Tyrick Mitchell. As a result, chief director Edu has now identified another Crystal Palace fullback as a potential alternative.

Patrick van Aanholt: An Established Premier League Option

A product of the Chelsea youth academy, Patrick van Aanholt has been around the block for quite some time now. He initially enjoyed his breakthrough Premier League campaign with Sunderland back in 2014/15 before sealing a permanent move to Crystal Palace in January 2017 for a fee of €10.5 million.

It was quite the bargain for the Eagles as van Aanholt emerged as a key asset in the left-back position in the years that followed. The Dutchman has already notched up 123 competitive appearances for Palace in all competitions, being involved in 20 goals.

The 30-year-old has been on and off with the Netherlands national team and notably won nine caps since his debut back in 2013. He is, therefore, an established fullback in the Premier League, whose experience at the highest level of football could indeed be useful at Arsenal.

Arsenal have set their sights on Patrick van Aanholt - His experience could be key.
WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 06: Patrick van Aanholt of Crystal Palace looks on during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace at The Hawthorns on December 06, 2020 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

How Does He Fit Into Arsenal?

Arsenal’s interest in van Aanholt come in the aftermath of Sead Kolasinac’s loan departure to FC Schalke. In addition, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is expected to leave Emirates soon, with Southampton and West Brom reportedly interested. The club have subsequently failed in their pursuit of Ryan Bertrand and Tyrick Mitchell respectively.

The departure of Maitland-Niles, in particular, could make van Aanholt the primary alternative for Kieran Tierney at left-back. It could be a valuable move for the player, knowing the injury-prone nature of his Scottish counterpart.

The potential addition of the Dutchman could solve one of Mikel Arteta’s defensive woes as well. The Arsenal manager has had to deploy Cedric Soares in an unnatural left-back role in Tierney’s absence in recent weeks. Van Aanholt, in that regard, should provide some quality depth in the side.

The Palace fullback may not be one of the most gifted players in Europe or a prodigious talent like Tierney. His experience at the highest level of football, coupled with his athleticism, though, could be useful as Arsenal look to perform well in the Europa League during the second half of the campaign.

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