Signing the likes of Ross Stewart, Alex Pritchard, and Jack Clarke, among others, helped them to end their four-year stint in the third tier of English football.
However, they have also been stung in the market over the years by signing players who failed to live up to their price tag, including Didier Ndong and Jack Rodwell.
Van Aanholt then featured in 33 Premier League matches in his second season and averaged an excellent SofaScore rating of 6.97 as he scored four goals and provided three assists. He also made a whopping 4.5 tackles and interceptions per game as he showed that he had the quality to make a big impact at both ends of the pitch whilst delivering consistently impressive displays.
In January of the following campaign, after playing another 21 times in the league, the Dutchman decided that he wanted a new challenge and handed in a transfer request to the club.
While hardly ideal news, this led to him sealing a £14m transfer to fellow Premier League side Crystal Palace. Eagles manager Sam Allardyce hailed the full-back, who he had managed at the Stadium of Light, at the time of the move, saying:
“Hopefully his impact is instant. He was instrumental in Sunderland’s fight for survival last year, not just as a full-back but for goals. We want him to defend well because we’re conceding too many goals. He’ll help at both ends.”
Sunderland struck gold with van Aanholt as they got 95 games, and 18 direct goal contributions, of service out of him and made an 833% profit on the initial £1.5m they paid for him after two-and-a-half years.
The dynamo went on to score 14 goals in 134 appearances for Palace and currently plays for Turkish giants Galatasaray after leaving England in 2021, and the Black Cats can be proud of the significant part they played in his career going the way it went.