Well, that escalated quickly.
We had just finished talking about how Antonio Conte was considering the “interesting opportunity” of possibly recalling Nathan Aké from his loan at AFC Bournemouth, when Cherries’ boss Eddie Howe dropped this bombshell — “It looks like that will be the case, it’s not 100% finalised yet”.
Bournemouth manager Howe's update on Nathan Ake Chelsea return: "It looks like that will be the case, it's not 100% finalised yet." #CFC— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) January 7, 2017
Howe was speaking after Bournemouth’s shocking 3-0 loss to Millwall in the FA Cup, a game in which Aké did not feature. This makes him not cup-tied for FA Cup matches going forward, which will be appealing to wherever he ends up for the second-half of the season ... which, surprisingly, is increasingly looking like is going to be with Chelsea.
While many had been calling for Aké’s integration into the first-team squad, surely this was not how we might have imagined it. Perhaps the recent departures of both Oscar and Mikel has forced our hand?
Either way, I suspect there will be official confirmation of this sooner rather than later.