The curiosity of Manchester United fans was piqued last month when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer exchanged some words with Nathan Ake at Old Trafford.
Moments after United’s 5-2 victory over Bournemouth in early July, Solskjaer seemed to plant the seeds for a potential approach for Ake.
BT Sport cameras picked up Solskjaer telling Ake: “We need a left-footed centre-back, so keep going.”
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But earlier this week, Ake was unveiled as the latest signing of Manchester City, not United.
City paid £40 million for the Dutch centre-half, with £1 million in add-ons – a fee likely decided in an attempt to avoid the ridiculous circumstances of Arsenal offering £40,000,001 for Luis Suarez in 2013.
The Athletic reports that United had entertained the idea of signing Ake as a potential partner for Harry Maguire at the heart of the Red Devils’ defence but Solskjaer ultimately decided against it.
While City dealt with the Ake transfer with a great amount of urgency in a bid to avoid United’s drawn-out pursuit of Maguire last year, the Red Devils were mulling over whether or not to challenge for Ake’s signature.
According to The Athletic report, United decided that Ake did not fit the bill regarding the kind of defender that the team requires for the upcoming season as they are not as insistent on bringing in a ball-playing defender as Pep Guardiola is.
— Nathan Aké (@NathanAke) August 5, 2020
United are reportedly more focused on signing a more physically imposing centre-half who can bully opposition players and deal with counter attacks.
United are also said to have grown concerned by the number of goals that Bournemouth conceded while Ake was with the Cherries and felt that the 25-year-old did not do enough to limit opponents’ chances.
Interestingly, Ake’s former club Chelsea had the option to match the same bid as City over the past few days but they also chose not to avail of that option for similar reasons to United as they are also looking a different kind of defender.