In 2017, Nathan Ake moved away from Chelsea to Bournemouth in search of first team football. Since then he has gone from strength to strength as he helps the south coast club to solidify their position in the Premier League. Whilst the club may be battling to avoid relegation this season, Ake has still continued to impress and has led to some teams towards the top of the table showing an increased interest in the Dutch international defender.
As well as being a dependable presence at centre back, Ake also has experienced at left back and defensive midfield. This versatility as well as his dependability in any of these roles, are just a few of the key reasons why some of the best teams in the country are interested in the former Feyenoord and Chelsea youngster. Bournemouth will, of course, be resistant to losing one of their best defenders whilst they battle to stay in England’s top division with just a few days left to possibly find a replacement who can immediately make an impact. Also, the fact that Ake has a contract until 2022 mean that his current employers are in the position of power, even if it’s just until the summer window.
One of the main interested teams are Chelsea. They appear to have learnt from their previous mistakes in selling young players who go on make a name for themselves once they get regular first team football (Lukaku and De Bruyne being some of the high profile errors of judgment) and inserted a buy back clause of £40 million when they sold him to Bournemouth which they could be keen to trigger this month. With Lampard known to be in the market for a left-sided centre half, the Dutchman would appear to tick many boxes for the Blues although any deal looks likely to hinge on the future of Andreas Christensen who has fallen down the pecking order since the departure of Antonio Conte and now looks to be on his way out of the Club. Furthermore, Ake could still be hesitant to re-join his former club after he made just 17 first team appearances in six years as a Chelsea player although this could change thanks to the revolution in fortunes of youth players under Frank Lampard.
Another interested party appear to be Tottenham Hotspur. As they continue to fight for a place in the top four of the Premier League, Spurs are looking to rejuvenate their aging back line. With Alderweireld turning 30 and Vertonghen turning 32, the Club are keen to find suitable, long-term replacements to bleed into the first-team. The fact that Mourinho was in charge through a lot of Ake’s time at Chelsea could prove a stumbling block for the player, but he may be able to look past that as he looks to take his career to the next level and look towards winning trophies, which is something that Mourinho has excelled at throughout his career.
Manchester United have also reportedly made enquiries as to the availability of the Cherries defender as they seek to continue their rebuilding project with a focus on younger players. Solskjaer may see Ake as a suitable partner for Harry Maguire at centre back, and given that both players are comfortable on the ball and bringing it out from the back, this could help to ease the burden on the creative capabilities of the current crop of midfielders . With De Gea still between the sticks and the emergence of Brandon Williams at left back, Ake could be the missing piece of the jigsaw for the United defence and could be the catalyst they need to improve their form, or at least concede less goals.
We would currently value him at £15.92m. This is primarily due to him only accumulating 11 international caps and still being a few years away from his peak playing years. However, given that Chelsea have a £40 million buy back clause it’s almost inevitable that any deal that may emerge in the window would be close to that figure. But, we feel that the most likely option is that he will not move in the January transfer window and may transfer in the summer, depending on the final position that Bournemouth find themselves in. However, if he continues his development between now and the summer his stock is almost guaranteed to rise regardless of the fortunes of his current club.