Sainsbury's high praise as PSV reveal Aussie’s role in transfer plans

Trent Sainsbury has been confirmed as a key cog in PSV Eindhoven’s transfer strategy after being confirmed by the Dutch giants on Tuesday.

After staring for the Caltex Socceroos at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Sainsbury finally confirmed his club future — penning a three-year deal with 24-time Dutch Eredivisie champions PSV just days after his release from Chinese club Jiangsu Suning.

READ:Sainsbury confirms transfer to Dutch football giants

The move sees Sainsbury unveiled as one of Mark van Bommel’s first major moves after taking over as head coach following his stint as Caltex Socceroos assistant coach in Russia.

PSV captain Luuk de Jong also penned a contract extension to keep him at the club, as van Bommel looks to defend the Dutch Eredivisie title as well as qualify for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.

"It's a massive club and one of the reasons I am happy to sign is that I know the coach [van Bommel] already and the style he brings to training and how he handles training," Sainsbury, 26, said.

"I am looking forward to working under him again. He has ideas in training and he won't back down from them and that is what all successful coaches do.

Socceroos assistant coach Mark van Bommel
Mark van Bommel was Caltex Socceroos assistant coach during the 2018 FIFA World Cup

"The players buy into it and you can see it come to fruition on game day."

Sainsbury added, speaking about the global presence of the Dutch giants: “PSV is on another level, everyone knows them in the world and it's a Champions League club, why would you not want to come here?

"Also, I love Holland and the people and that was another bonus.”

The former Central Coast Mariners centre-back — capped 38 times for the Caltex Socceroos — returns to the Netherlands, where he had previously played for PEC Zwolle for two years before joining Jiangsu Suning.

It was during that stint with PEC Zwolle — in addition to Sainsbury’s key performances against France, Denmark and Peru at the FIFA World Cup — that impressed the PSV Eindhoven hierarchy.

"Trent is a defender who we found interesting when he was still playing at PEC Zwolle," PSV technical manager John de Jong explained.

"He is now a player with a lot of international experience. Among other things at the World Cup, he showed that he has developed excellently.”

Sainsbury’s return to the Netherlands — despite interest from English Championship clubs Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa — comes at an interesting time for PSV, with captain Luuk De Jong also signing a three-year contract extension to end transfer speculation of his departure.

"I had to make choices", said De Jong after signing his contract on the same day as Sainsbury’s arrival. "I could make the choice to leave, but I did not do that in the end."

John de Jong — PSV’s technical manager — confirmed that Sainsbury’s arrival and De Jong’s resigning was a sign of proactive transfer business as PSV expect imminent departures. 

He said: “We expect a flurry of moves in the transfer window and have anticipated by signing Trent on a free transfer.”