Manchester City have begun talks with Bournemouth about the potential transfer of Nathan Ake to the Etihad.
Sky Sports report that discussions are at an early stage and that there are numerous other clubs also monitoring his situation.
While he is contracted to the Cherries until 2022, relegation would see him come at a cheaper cost than usual.
The Guardian reports that this fee is likely to be around the £35 million mark.
Eddie Howe’s side currently sit in 19th place in the league.
They are three points behind Watford in 17th, with one game remaining.
It looks like the Vitality Stadium will be home to Championship football next season, so their better players, like Ake, will most likely be picked off by Premier League teams.
Is Ake a sensible target?
Ake has been linked with a move to a big club practically ever since he signed for Bournemouth in 2017.
He cost a club-record £20 million from Chelsea after impressing on loan on the south coast in 2016/17.
The 13-cap Netherlands international has been one of the best centre-backs outside the league’s top six clubs for the past few seasons.
While he is often let down by his teammates, this season has possibly been his worst in Bournemouth colours.
Meanwhile, Ake’s tackle numbers are down from 1.7 per game last season to 1.1 this season, although this could be down to opposing teams targeting his centre-back partner.
Horrible way to end his career at this club. By far the best player I’ve ever seen in a bournemouth shirt, and quite frankly levels and levels above anyone else at the club. thank you, and best of luck for the future, king. #afcb @NathanAke pic.twitter.com/Y26uyALh1Q
— michael (@MikeAFCB4) July 12, 2020
He is still a class act however, and has been labelled by some as Bournemouth’s best ever player.
Ake also counts as home-grown, given that he came up through Chelsea’s academy.
He may not be a truly elite defender, but should prove to be good value for money.
At 25, he is still a few years away from his peak, so he would be a very sensible signing if he can be bought for below market value.
Do City need him?
In short, yes.
The Citizen’s defence has been woeful at times this season, with the absences of Vincent Kompany and Aymeric Laporte strongly felt.
John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi have proved that they simply are not good enough to play for a top club.
Fernandinho has done a decent job deputizing but is clearly not at home in defence. He is also way too old to remain there long-term.
Ake is still young but has Premier League and international experience. He has also never made an error leading to a goal in the league, which Stones and Otamendi are prone to doing.
The Dutchman is good on the ball, which will have caught Pep Guardiola’s eye. He has a pass success rate of 87.6%, plus two assists this season.
However, Ake will probably not be the only defensive acquisition this summer.
The reason being that he is a left-sided centre-back, like Laporte.
Laporte is a guaranteed starter when fit, so Guardiola will surely target a right-footed player to play beside the Frenchman.
All the same, signing Nathan Ake at a reduced fee is a no-brainer to replace Stones and Otamendi as a defensive understudy.