Nathan Ake was steadily becoming a fixture in the Chelsea squad as the 2012/13 season wore on, frequently being named to Chelsea benches and even occasionally taking part in a first team game. Ake was pleased with the way the season went for him, so much so that he'd prefer to remain in London next season rather than heading out on loan:
"Hopefully I can do the same as this year, be involved with the first team and training with them a lot and hopefully get more. I got six games this season for the first team, so that's a good start. Hopefully next season I can get more."
"Actually I prefer to stay at Chelsea. This way I think you learn the most because you're playing with such big players, if you're playing. The other option is to go on loan but we have to see about that."
Ake was also asked about his switch to the Chelsea midfield, and where he felt he'd eventually end up:
"I think it's good to be able to play more positions because the manager can put you in more positions. I think my position, when I'm older, is going to be midfielder, because of my height [5'11"] as well. I used to play center-back but in England everyone is big, so my height is a little bit of a problem for defense, maybe."
I'm not Michael Emenalo, but if I was, Ake would definitely be heading elsewhere for next year. He's a fantastic young prospect, but he's unlikely at this point to see the sort of minutes he needs to develop with Chelsea. He'd still be eligible to play with both the U18 and U21 sides next season, but frankly, I think he's probably developed to the point where he's not likely to get much out of them. I love the fact that he'd prefer to stay with Chelsea and fight for minutes, but I think it would be better for him to get regular minutes elsewhere for a season or two first.
As for his position switch, I'd have to agree that he's likely destined for a midfield or fullback role in the future. At 5'11", he's probably capable of handling the center of the defense once his reading of the game improves. That being said, there seems to be little reason to play him there at a bit of a physical disadvantage when his skillset translates so well to a position where his size wouldn't be an issue. Keep him in the midfield...he'll get more touches and won't have to worry as much about aerial threats like Andy Carroll or Christian Benteke.
Ake will have another chance to show off his undeniable talent this evening in rainy New York City, as he'll likely start tonight's post-season friendly against Manchester City. Best of luck Nathan, we'll all be pulling for you.