When Sheffield Wednesday announced the signing of Joost van Aken from SC Heerenveen two years ago, their supporters had every right to be excited given the defender’s outstanding performances in the Eredivisie.
A mainstay in De Superfriezen’s starting eleven throughout his four-year stint at the club, his domineering presence in defence allowed them to thrive in Dutch football’s top division.
Yet following SC Heerenveen’s failure to qualify for the Europa League in 2017, van Aken decided that he needed a new challenge and so made the switch to Hillsborough after having positive talks with then-Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal.
With the club revealing that they had completed the deal to bring the 25-year-old to South Yorkshire on Twitter, some Owls fans reacted to the news in a positive manner.
Great signing this
— Daniel Lloyd-Tompkin (@DanielLloydLUFC) August 30, 2017
Great signing, looks good with the ball
— Jon Cocker (@Jon_Cocker) August 30, 2017
— David Besley (@DBesley10) August 30, 2017
Welcome to #swfc Joost.
— Stephen Rigley (@srigley) August 30, 2017
Joost in the nick of time
— james portman (@JamesBarrie) August 30, 2017
— Lee Fisher (@LeeJFisher1) August 30, 2017
At last. Welcome to SWFC!
— James (@jamesmg156) August 30, 2017
Given his glowing reputation in his homeland, there was a lot of pressure on van Aken to deliver for the Owls in his debut season.
Yet despite initially making a positive start to his career in England, the defender soon found himself drifting in and out of Carvalhal’s plans before a serious hamstring injury brought his 2017/18 campaign to an end in December.
With chairman Dejphon Chansiri replacing Carvalhal with Jos Luhukay during van Aken’s absence from the team, the former Netherlands under-21 international had to prove himself once again before the start of last season.
Although he was chosen for the first game of the year against Wigan Athletic, a defensive horror show at the DW Stadium resulted in him falling behind the likes of Jonathan Hector and Tom Lees in the pecking order.
Having suffered with fitness issues throughout the season, van Aken ended up making just one more appearance for the Owls in what was a miserable 10-month period for the defender.
Considering the fact that Steve Bruce hasn’t given him a chance to express himself since he took over at the club in January, it would not be at all surprising if the former SC Heerenveen enforcer decides to leave the Owls this summer.
Wednesday fans, what were your thoughts when van Aken initially signed? Join the discussion by commenting below.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!