AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is a big fan of Nathan Aké, and that relationship has been beneficial to both of them ever since the Gullit-haired center back arrived from Chelsea for a club-record £20m transfer fee in 2017.
Aké left Chelsea in search of some stability and regular playing time, and he’s certainly found that on South Coast. He’s started all but 1 of their Premier League games over those 2.5 seasons (that’s 92 games if you’re counting), though he’s due to miss a couple with the recent hamstring injury he picked up over the weekend.
Obviously, Howe does not want to lose his star defender, who’s played such a huge role in establishing the Cherries as a Premier League side, but admits that with Chelsea and Manchester City reportedly circling, that decision may be out of his hands.
“It would be obviously my wish to hold onto everybody but some of these things are out of our control.
“We will wait and see. I don’t want to give you evasive answers but I am in no control of that at the moment. A lot of things with transfers [from] trying to bring players in, trying to keep the squad we have is out of my hands. Obviously, we will be doing our best to be as strong as we can into the second half of the season.”
-Eddie Howe; source: Sky via Evening Standard
While Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has been mostly hinting at January reinforcements in attack (without “going crazy”), our defensive record has been screaming for help since the beginning of the season. A healthy Antonio Rüdiger will certainly help, which is maybe why Lampard has been concentrating on the other end of the pitch, but we’ll have to see if a) Toni can stay healthy and b) he can play return to playing the high level we need him to be.
The jury’s certainly out on whether Aké could be that missing piece who would make a significant improvement, but at £40m (the rumored buy-back clause we have) in today’s markets, and especially in January, he just might be.