Questions have been asked of Manchester City defensively after they failed to replace talismanic captain Vincent Kompany after his departure from the Etihad Stadium at the end of last season.
Now it looks like Pep Guardiola has moved to try and address the strength of City’s centre back ranks, especially considering his side’s struggles in the absence of the impressive Aymeric Laporte for a large chunk of the campaign.
City have identified Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake as a player who can come in to the club and add more consistency to the back line. The 25-year-old has played 117 Premier League games for the Cherries and hasn’t committed a single error leading to a goal.
However, it must be said that the Dutch international has been part of a defence which has conceded 60+ goals for the past 4 seasons, with no other Premier League club shipping more goals than Bournemouth in that time.
The Cherries were relegated on Sunday after a 5-year stint in the Premier League, and I think it’s fair to say that Dutch international Ake has earned his chance at another top flight club.
Ake is regularly selected for the Dutch national side along with Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Juventus’ Matthijs de Ligt, both top class talents.
Due to Ake coming through the Chelsea academy, he also qualifies as a home grown player under Premier League rules, which is a bonus for Guardiola when constructing his squad for the new season.
However, it must be noted that although Bournemouth have accepted a £41m bid from Manchester City for Ake, that doesn’t explicitly mean he is going to join the club.
Due to the fact that Chelsea sold the Dutchman to the Cherries in 2015, the Blues do have the option to make a counter offer.
It seems unlikely this will happen, though, despite suggestions that Frank Lampard is looking to freshen up his defensive options at Stamford Bridge.
If City complete the acquisition of Nathan Ake, they won’t stop there in terms of bringing in defenders – the club are still keen to sign Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, a defender who they feel has experience and can hit the ground running if he comes in.
That is the intelligence from The Athletic’s Manchester City correspondent Sam Lee, who is a regular contributor to our podcast Football Social Daily, which can you listen to wherever you get your podcasts.