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Manchester City are reportedly considering a £40 million bid for Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake after rumours surfaced linking the Netherlands international with Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
Ake, 23, has enjoyed an upward trajectory since he left Chelsea permanently for the Vitality Stadium in June 2017, and MailOnline’s Will Griffee reported the Citizens are prepared to pay £40 million for the defender.
The centre-back comes with the added advantage of counting towards the Premier League’s homegrown quota. He joined Chelsea in 2011, when he was just 17—players qualify if they represent a top-flight club for three years before they turn 21.
Bournemouth are sixth in the league but have one of the worst defensive records in the top half of the table, conceding 12 times in their first nine games this season—only United (12) have conceded more. Nevertheless, analyst Simon Gleave noted one area in which the forward-thinking Ake stood out as elite:
Simon Gleave @SimonGleave
This confirms what most Crystal Palace supporters probably know – that Sakho is right up with the elite when it comes to passing the ball forwards accurately.
Bournemouth also have a gem in Ake.
#cpfc #afcb https://t.co/IzZ4D1xVTC
City already have one of, if not the best centre-back corps in the Premier League. Captain Vincent Kompany—33 in April—is backed up by Argentina international Nicolas Otamendi, Aymeric Laporte and England’s John Stones.
There’s not a lot of space for another young addition to that bunch—Laporte and Stones are only 24—although Kompany’s contract is due to expire at the end of this season.
The Belgium international was calm when he addressed the topic of his expiring deal recently, however, as he looks to build on a successful 10-and-a-half years at the Etihad Stadium, as Goal shared:
His current deal is expiring…
But Man City defender Vincent Kompany says he is not focused on his contract situation at the moment. 📝
#MCFC #UCL https://t.co/14LNXfGq0t
Ake impressed on loan at Bournemouth at the start of the 2016-17 season, illustrated by the fact that Chelsea saw fit to recall him when they endured some injury concerns that winter. He looked relatively comfortable at a top English team then and could do again in the near future.
Speaking to Sky Sports (h/t Metro), Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe recently took it as a positive that his player was being targeted by such esteemed peers:
“I think that’s a compliment to Nathan and how he’s played since he signed for us permanently.
“He’s been a model of consistency. He picked up all the player awards that he did at the end of last season and he’s carried that form into this [season].
“With any type of speculation that you are linked with, the clubs he’s been mentioned with, it’s a good sign. However, that doesn’t mean we’re about to lose him. He’s a massive part of what we’re doing.“
Ake’s compatriot Virgil van Dijk shone for Southampton before Liverpool made him the world’s most expensive defender in January, and the Bournemouth centre-back could soon make a big move of his own.
Like Van Dijk, Ake tends to stand out for Bournemouth when he’s at his best and has a high level of class in his play, which was on show in their recent 2-1 win over Crystal Palace, per Sky Sports Statto:
Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto
🍾 Man of the Match:
@afcbournemouth’s Nathan Ake 🍒🍒🍒
Clearances ✅ 🚮
Won 100% of aerial duels 🍾 https://t.co/nY7jfwUrVO
United and Spurs have reasons to be hunting centre-backs and could pose stiff competition in the race for Ake, although City could be on to another coup if they flex their muscles to recruit the defender in 2019.