Leeds United are reportedly interested in Crystal Palace’s Patrick van Aanholt, who is out of contract in the summer.
As Leeds’ safety in the Premier League is more or less guaranteed, the Yorkshire-based side can begin to plan for next season and the type of personnel they want to bring in during the summer.
Throughout this season, Marcelo Bielsa has largely relied on Stuart Dallas and Ezgjan Alioski to operate in the left-wing-back role. However, the latter is also out of contract this summer, which could further reduce Bielsa’s options.
After a long battle with Tyrick Mitchell for the left-back position, the 30-year-old has reclaimed his role at the Eagles and has played a full 90 minutes in Palace’s last five Premier League outings.
However, is it time for a change of scenery for van Aanholt, and would Leeds United be a good fit?
GIVEMESPORT writers Tom Kelly, Sam Brookes, Josh Cole, and Jonathan Gorrie discuss exactly that.
“Ever since Leeds’ arrival in the Premier League, the club’s sporting director Victor Orta has spoken about progression and the project at the club. Ultimately, they want to build a side that can compete in the Premier League for years to come.
“Will Van Aanholt fit the mold of this project? I don’t think so.
“I’m not sure whether it would be a step in the right direction to bring in a player that’s a year older than their current go-to full-back. If Leeds are serious about their project, they should bring in someone who is younger and potentially reach a higher ceiling.
“They should show some more ambition than a man who couldn’t get into the Crystal Palace team until recently.”
“Bielsa has shown this season that he expects his players to be able to perform in multiple roles. One clear example of this has come at left-back, where Alioski and Dallas have largely shared the role.
“They have done an adequate job, but it does seem that Leeds may be better off signing a specialist for this area of the pitch moving forwards. Van Aanholt fits the bill.
“The Dutch defender has over 200 Premier League appearances to his name, meaning he would bring a wealth of experience. His all-action style would also suit Leeds, as Bielsa demands so much from his players.
“It is also worth mentioning that van Aanholt has not had things all his own way this season, having lost his place in the Crystal Palace side on several occasions to Tyrick Mitchell. Yet he has continued to work his way back, and is now settled into the starting XI once more.
“His commendable attitude and playing qualities suggest that he will be a good addition to the squad at Elland Road.”
“Whereas Leeds may be in the market for a new full-back if Alioski opts to leave Elland Road this summer, they may need to think twice about signing van Aanholt.
“Although the full-back does possess a great deal of experience at Premier League level, he hasn’t enjoyed the best of 2020/21 campaigns.
“Given that Leeds have struggled at times this season in a defensive sense, they ought to look elsewhere for a new full-back who can offer more protection than van Aanholt.”
“While signing a 30-year-old might not seem conducive to Leeds United’s relentless style of play, Patrick van Aanholt would be an excellent addition to Marcelo Bielsa’s cause.
“At his best, the Dutchman is an excitingly incisive left-back capable of bringing the ball forward in a manner befitting of their style. As per FBRef, he averages 6.54 progressive carries per game, more than most of Leeds’ squad, so does look to have a natural place in their side.
“An experienced operator at the top level, he’d bring a certain level nous to proceedings and give Bielsa another palpable goal threat, having scored at least three times from left-back during his last three full campaigns with Palace.”