Carlos Carvalhal had just managed to get Sheffield Wednesday to a second successive season and was looking to make it a hat-trick of top-six finishes ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.
To do so, the Owls needed to strengthen and keep the core of the side that had served them well over the previous two years.
And signings were made that summer with three permanent arrivals to Hillsborough, as well as two season-long loans.
An area that needed strengthening was in defence, and a player incoming was confirmed on August 30, 2017.
Joost van Aken was signed from SC Heerenveen for an undisclosed fee on a four-year deal.
✍️ Sheffield Wednesday have signed central defender Joost van Aken from Dutch side @scHeerenveen..
— Sheffield Wednesday (@swfc) August 30, 2017
The defender was only 23 at the time of his arrival and had serious potential considering the length of contract Carvalhal had offered him.
And that optimism was shared with many of the club’s fans as they were pleased with the arrival of the young Dutch defender.
— John Russell (@JackRussell1867) August 30, 2017
Set the Joost loose!!
— Jim Capel (@Jimaldinho1867) August 30, 2017
We're walking along. Singing a song. Walking in a Joost Van Aken wonderland.
— Tim Wild (@wildy79) August 30, 2017
— Band (@swfcba) August 30, 2017
He might be joost what we need…
— Jack (@Kirky_KO) August 30, 2017
Handed the number four shirt at Hillsborough, van Aken had his EFL debut on September 9, 2017, playing the whole 90 minutes in the 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest.
Strong in the air and comfortable in possession, van Aken had been capped three times at international level by the Dutch U21s, and during his first year with the club, he managed 14 league appearances and 16 in all competitions.
But all those appearances came under Carvalhal, who was sacked on Christmas Eve in 2017 with the club someway off the top-six after two successful years prior.
Jos Luhukay was appointed the Owls’ new boss as they finished 15th in the league with the Dutch defender not making a single appearance after the turn of the year.
The following season, this season, van Aken has only featured twice for the Owls in cup competitions and failed to make a single appearance for the club in the league this campaign and under Luhukay since his arrival.
The reaction to the signing of the defender was positive, but the club have not been able to see the best of him as he has been banished from the first-team and never to be seen again under the current manager.
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