In the second Premier League loan stint of his career, young Chelsea defender Nathan Aké has become a key player for AFC Bournemouth. After struggling to get established in Eddie Howe's side in the first few months of the season, the 21-year-old has cemented his place in the starting eleven as a left-sided centre back, even scoring three goals in ten league appearances.
Given his success, the calls to integrate Aké into Chelsea's first team next season have only grown louder. However, he himself isn't so sure that a return to his parent club is on the horizon for him.
"It is still a long way away [from next season]. Of course that is the plan to go back to Chelsea but it's still too early to say."
"Everything is local [at Bournemouth]. If you go into town, people, old and young, come up to you and say, 'Well done'. Everyone seems to be involved at the club, like a family. Everyone is really nice, and everyone does things with each other, and it makes the group really tight."
"I am happy here. The loan deal is until the end of the season. I don't look too far ahead. At the end of the season, we will see. It is too early to say [if I can make it at Chelsea]. There are still things to improve. Hopefully at the end of the season we will know more."
-Nathan Aké; Source: Sky Sports via London Evening Standard
Aké’s probably just be holding onto his cards and keeping his options open, especially given Chelsea’s less than stellar record in integrating the youth even after they have proven themselves multiple times in loan spells.
That said, Aké would be a good depth option to add to the squad, if nothing else, considering his ability to play centre back, left back and also as a midfielder. Hopefully Conte sees it that way as well.