PATRICK van Aanholt says he snubbed interest from the continent to prove his credentials in the Premier League.
The Dutch international has spent the past two days training with his new team-mates at their Portugese training camp after becoming Sunderland’s fourth summer signing on Friday.
The 23-year-old was desperate to leave Chelsea after making just eight first-team appearances and being sent out on loan to five different clubs – the last of which saw him spend the last two-and-a-half years in his native Holland with Vitesse Arnhem.
Van Aanholt claims he had offers from clubs across Europe – thought to have included Feyenoord – as he entered the final 12 months of his contract at Stadium Bridge.
But the left-back was eager to show that he could make the Premier League grade and jumped at the chance of joining Sunderland.
“After two-and-a-half years on loan in Holland, I decided I wanted to prove myself in the Premier League, to show what kind of player I am and show what I’m capable of doing,” said van Aanholt, who is expected to make his first Sunderland appearance in tomorrow’s friendly against Recreativo de Huelva.
“I had a couple of offers from different countries, but I said ‘no, I want to stay in the Premier League’.
“I’m very happy that Sunderland called me at the right moment.
“I spoke to the manager and he said he’d be very happy to take me to Sunderland.
“I thought about it for a second and said I’d love to come to Sunderland. It’s a great opportunity for me to play in the Premier League.”
Van Aanholt’s performances for Vitesse had also seen him win two caps for his country and he was included in Holland’s provisional 30-man squad for the summer’s World Cup.
He didn’t make the cut for Louis van Gaal’s final 23, but the defender is hoping to move on from that disappointment with his new employers.
“I was in the provisional squad for the World Cup, but unfortunately I didn’t make the full squad,” he added on the club’s website.
“Obviously, I was very disappointed, but now I can’t wait to start playing.”