Nathan Ake only made seven appearances for Chelsea before being shipped off on the loan transfer merry-go-round that characterises the saturated youth setup. What irony, then, that the Dutch defender now seems to be on the brink of a reported £30 million deal to take him back to Stamford Bridge.
It’s not the first time that this has happened either… Does anyone remember Romelu Lukaku? All jokes aside, the Blues are keen on re-signing Ake, but a few hurdles remain in their way.
Primarily, Pep Guardiola needs assurances from the Manchester City hierarchy that replacement signings will be made. Of course, with a seemingly endless transfer war chest at his disposal, we don’t see this being a problem.
Sports bettors are generally tipping Manchester City to win the Premier League for a third season running, something Ake’s departure probably won’t change. On the other hand, his signing for Chelsea may put Tuchel’s men ahead of competitors like Liverpool in the end-of-season runnings.
Whatever you think, it’s always a good idea to shop around and find the best online betting promotions before placing your start-of-season predictions. Things like free bets and deposit match offers can be instrumental in your success over the year, so make sure you don’t miss out.
But back to the matter at hand; will Nathan Ake move back to his boyhood club? And, what needs to happen to make this a reality? Read on to find out more.
Nathan Ake was born in Holland and played for Feyenoord until 2010, when he joined the Chelsea youth team setup aged 15. He has always been a versatile defender, occupying the fullback, central defence, and defensive midfield positions in his early days.
Currently, Ake is primarily a central defender, albeit, one with exceptional ball-playing skills and a tendency to roam forwards at times. Manchester City surprised countless Premier League followers after signing him from Bournemouth in 2020. However, after 24 appearances under his belt and 3 goals, he’s easily proven his worth at the club.
Ake is also a seasoned Dutch international stalwart, having played regularly since 2017. He also won the 2011 and 2012 UEFA U17 European Championships for the Netherlands, taking the role of team captain and defensive mainstay.
Any Chelsea fans experiencing an acute sense of deja vu when hearing any talk of an Ake transfer can be forgiven. It’s easy to forget that the Dutchman started his professional career at Stamford Bridge, but it’s not quite as easy to understand why the club didn’t keep the talented footballer for longer.
Unfortunately, Chelsea’s policy regarding its Cobham academy graduates was loan first, first-team later. Although Ake won the Chelsea Young Player of the Year award in 2012, it wasn’t enough to solidify himself as a first-team regular. He left for a short-lived loan spell at Reading in 2015, in search of regular football.
Ake only made 5 appearances for Reading before being loaned out to Watford for the 2015-2016 season. He predominantly played as a left back for Quique Sanchez Flores’ side, winning Watford’s Young Player of the Season award in the process.
The Dutchman’s exploits for Watford made him a wanted man across the UK. Bournemouth beat a number of Premier League sides to his loan signature. He really started to find himself on the South coast, providing a few legendary moments, like the last-minute winner against Liverpool in December.
Ake’s imperious form at Bournemouth earned him a recall to Chelsea in the January transfer window. He became an important part of the club’s FA Cup squad but still wasn’t playing enough to satisfy his desire and ambition.
Unsurprisingly, Ake opted to return to Bournemouth. The club signed him in a £20 million deal, the most Bournemouth had ever paid for a player at that point. He became a mainstay in Eddie Howe’s young and exciting side, before moving to Manchester City after three quality seasons.
Ake and Chelsea are thought to have already agreed on personal terms, with the Dutchman keen to finish what he started at Stamford Bridge. The two clubs must now agree on a fee, probably somewhere in the region of £45 million.
This is the first hurdle for Tuchel and co. to negotiate, although new owner Todd Boehly isn’t scared to splash the cash. Regardless, the club may have to wait for Manchester City to find a defensive replacement. Otherwise, Guardiola may have reservations about Ake leaving.
In any case, most transfer experts are expecting the deal to be completed within the next week. It isn’t quite a certainty yet, but all the signs are pointing toward Ake playing at Chelsea in the upcoming 2022-2023 season.
Chelsea is looking to engineer a double Bayern Munich swoop to freshen up their attack for next season. However, the defence is arguably the most exciting revamp for supporters.
Antonio Rudiger and Anders Christiansen left for Real Madrid and Barcelona at the end of the 2021-2022 season, leaving a gaping hole in their backline. Tuchel has turned to Nathan Ake and (hopefully) Kalidou Koulibaby, resulting in a strong and fluid defensive structure.
Alongside the seemingly unageing Thiago Silva, these two will be a scary proposition for Premier League attackers. Ake will offer ball-playing prowess from the back, while Koulibaby and Thiago Silva give grit and defensive rigidity. These two transfers could certainly be the catalyst for the team’s success this year.
Ake’s transfer back to Chelsea has led analysts to question the club’s youth player policy, especially considering the whole Romelu Lukaku fiasco last year.
The 2019 transfer ban led the club to rely far more on academy graduates. This led to the rise of players like Mason Mount, Reece James, and Tammy Abraham. However, the season after, Chelsea went and splashed the cash once again on several underperforming players.
Would they have been better off sticking with their academy graduates? Many people are starting to think so. With such world-class academy facilities and a steady torrent of fantastic players coming through, why not?
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