After a strong season on loan at Watford last year, many expected Nathan Ake to win a spot (or at least attempt to win a spot) on the Chelsea first-team this season. That never quite came to pass however, and the versatile youngster was loaned out to AFC Bournemouth right at the start of pre-season.
Despite arriving so early in the season at his new team, Ake didn't manage to break into the first-team until mid-November, but in the month since, he's become a key member of the starting lineup. Usually deployed at center back, he's been receiving plaudits for his strong play against the likes of Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal, as well as scoring a couple important goals, such as the winner against Stoke City or the late-late winner against Liverpool.
A month ago, Ake's loan looked to be a massive failure; now he's back on the hype-train for a possible Chelsea future, even. Here's Cherries' teammate Harry Arter with similar sentiments.
"Nathan deserves all the plaudits he's getting at the moment. And I've no doubt that next year he'll go back to Chelsea and play in their side. I personally feel he's more than good enough, especially with the system they're playing now."
"And it's a credit to him because he's worked really hard, even when he wasn't in the team, and he deserves all the praise he's getting."
-Harry Arter; source: Sky
Ake has started the last six games for Eddie Howe, but that run will come to an end on Boxing Day as the Cherries come to Stamford Bridge, making Ake ineligible as per the rules of loan contracts. On recent evidence, that's promising news for us and backup center forward Michy Batshuayi.