Sunderland’s resolve to keep Patrick van Aanholt could be put to the test if Sam Allardyce makes a “stupid” bid for the defender.
The ex-Black Cats boss is understood to want the in-form Dutchman, with reports circulating that Crystal Palace have made a £7million bid for him.
Palace have made offers for Robbie Brady at Norwich and Jeff Schlupp at Leicester, with the winger poised to leave the champs for a fee of £12m.
Big Sam is a huge admirer of van Aanholt following his time at the Stadium of Light where the 26-year-old proved an attacking gem and contributed several vital goals.
The former Chelsea man has carried on in the same vein this season, scoring three goals, two of them providing four priceless points, including the winner against Watford.
In fact, such has been the dearth of goals, he is the joint second-top scorer (level with Victor Anichebe) though a country mile behind 11-goal Jermain Defoe.
But, should Sunderland even contemplate selling van Aanholt, especially to a relegation rival?
From the outside it would seem total folly.
Yes, a figure of around £12million may appear tempting for a player who cost only a fraction of that, £1.5million.
However, PVA would have to be replaced – there is no other left-sided defender in the first-team picture.
That would involve a considerable outlay unless David Moyes used either Billy Jones or Javier Manquillo on the ‘wrong’ side, given both are right-footers, and used the money to strengthen another area.
Defensively, van Aanholt has had his critics, though that is harsh on the once-capped Dutch international.
He has not been taken to the cleaners and even if there were a chink or two in the armour, his ability going forward far outweighs any perceived negatives.
Moyes spoke last week of wishing to keep the left-footer.
“I want to keep (him),” he said. “I don’t want to sell. There are players who if we got an offer in, I’d consider.
“But Pat is one of the ones we want to keep.
“We want Pat to be here, so unless something absolutely stupid came around then we’ll be keeping him.”
Moyes has already fended off one London raid, with West Ham attempting – and failing – to take Defoe back to the East End.
The Cats boss joked at a press conference that he has always been an “expensive” seller and it would be intriguing should Allardyce push out the boat with a big price.
Allardyce named no names at his media conference, though he was honest enough to say several offers had gone in.
“We have got bids in for three or four players,” he said.
“The aim was by the end of this week to secure one of the defenders we have bid for and that’s not the case. It shows how difficult this window is.
“We are trying our best. The prices are quite steep.
“We have to live with those prices because, for me, it is a necessity we strengthen our defence.
“We only have three centre-backs and two full-backs.”