Of all England’s elite clubs, Chelsea appear to be set for the most active summer of transfers.
A prospective move for Alex Sandro looks close to a sure thing for the Premier League champions but they show no intent of stopping there. The club are also extensively linked with Virgil Van Dijk, Romelu Lukaku and Tiemoué Bakayoko as the seek to embolden their hopes of competing on both the domestic and European stage next season. However, talks at the club do not exclusively concern players set to join the Blues. Several are also considered surplus to requirements by Conte.
John Terry, as is known to anyone with even a passing interest in football, played his last season at the club last year while Conte recently notified Diego Costa via text message that he too would not be needed. One decision arrived at upwards of a year, the other a knee-jerk reaction to an ill-advised text message but both ultimately mean the same thing. Two Chelsea players, from an already small squad, set to depart. It turns out that they are set to be joined by a third.
As reported in The Guardian, Chelsea defender Nathan Aké is set to join Bournemouth for £20 million, a club record for the Cherries. The defender, of course, spent the first half of last season at the Vitality Stadium where he made an extremely positive impact. Indeed so successful was his stint under Eddie Howe that Chelsea recalled him in the January transfer window to provide additional cover for Chelsea’s defence.
Aké’s pace and adaptability were thought to make him a perfect fit in Conte’s 3-4-3 system as he could provide cover for both the wing-back positions and the centre-halves. Moses and Alonso in particularly were tasked with incredibly demanding roles in Conte’s formation and it is miraculous that both played through the system without any serious dip in form or long-term injury.
One would have to assume that additional cover will be required next season but that will not come in the form of Aké.
The Dutchman has made it clear that he craves first team football and Conte has not been in a position to offer that to him regularly. Since re-joining the Blues in January he started just a single Premier League fixture and clearly, given he’s 22, he’s eager to play more first-team football and develop.
The potential for such development appears quite large, but it’s as yet unclear if some form of buy-back clause will be inserted into the contract. Given Chelsea’s travails in re-signing Nemanja Matic for £21 million, and being forced to watch Kevin De Bruyne develop into a star player at rival Manchester City, one would assume that the club are eager not to face a similar fate in the case of Aké.
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