Man City Opinion: Nathan Ake would be a wonderful long-term replacement for Kompany
According to The Sun, Man City have leapfrogged Spurs, Man United and Chelsea in the race to sign Bournemouth centre-back Nathan Ake in the summer transfer window, with reports claiming that manager Pep Guardiola is on the lookout for a new central defender.
The Sun understands that Ake, who is rated at £40 million by Bournemouth, has attracted interest from a number of big clubs in the Premier League but the reigning champions are currently in pole position to land the 24-year-old Dutchman.
Ake has been a real revelation in the Premier League since his £20 million move to the south coast from Chelsea back in 2017, with the Dutchman establishing himself as one of the standout centre-backs in the division under the guidance of Cherries boss Eddie Howe.
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino had lined him up as a replacement for Toby Alderweireld, while Chelsea were also keen to bring their former academy product back to the club. However, the Blues are unlikely to be able to do any business this summer due to the transfer embargo and Man City have firmed up their interest in the 24-year-old. (h/t Sun)
Ake is not the only centre-back on Guardiola’s shortlist, though, with the Citizens also very much in the race to sign Leicester City and England star Harry Maguire. However, the Foxes are unlikely to budge on their massive valuation of the 26-year-old, which has probably led to City identifying Ake as a more affordable alternative this summer. (h/t Sun)
Ake spent five years on the fringes of the first-team at Stamford Bridge and made a paltry 17 appearances for the Blues in all competitions, spending time on loan at Reading, Watford and Bournemouth before joining the latter permanently in 2017.
The 24-year-old hasn’t looked back since then and has nailed down a regular starting role at the heart of the defence for the Cherries, contributing with 9 goals in 91 appearances across all competitions.
An ever-present at the back for Bournemouth, the 10-cap Dutch international made a total of 38 appearances for Eddie Howe’s side in the Premier League this past season, as the Cherries secured a mid-table finish. Ake held his own more often than not, despite the club conceding as many as 70 goals, which was the third-worst defensive record in the division.
To put things into perspective, Nathan Ake is about to enter his prime years as a centre-back very soon and it is easy to see why Man City have lined him up as a potential alternative to Maguire.
The 24-year-old has proven his mettle at a mid-table club like Bournemouth and it is a no-brainer that the reigning champions would bag a massive coup by getting him on board this summer.
The Citizens are in the market for a new centre-back, a stance which is quite understandable given that long-standing club captain Vincent Kompany has parted company with the champions. Nicolas Otamendi might also be on the move this summer and the Argentine’s departure would leave Guardiola with only John Stones and Aymeric Laporte as the two centre-backs.
While Laporte has established himself as one of the mainstays of City’s backline since the start of the previous campaign, the same cannot be said of John Stones.
The Englishman struggled with injuries and found himself down the pecking order at the Etihad more often than not this past season and his recent blunders for England in the UEFA Nations League semi-final haven’t enhanced his reputation either.
Hence, it is quite clear that City need a new centre-back to replace Kompany and bringing in Ake would be a shrewd piece of business as far as the Citizens are concerned.
The Dutchman’s technical abilities on the ball, range of passing, supreme aerial ability and good game-reading skills do stand out, as does his composure, agility and ability to anticipate the danger and clear his lines, making him a perfect fit for Guardiola’s philosophy.
Moreover, he has shown in the past that he is more than capable of operating in a holding midfield role, owing to his ball-playing qualities.
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The Dutchman has carved out a big reputation for himself in the Premier League at 24 and he is only going to get better with time, meaning that City have every reason to look at him as a long-term replacement for Kompany.
Keeping that in mind, the Citizens should go all out in their pursuit of the former Chelsea man this summer.