Nathan Ake has agreed on personal teams for a second stint at Chelsea although a fee has not been agreed with Man City but will likely be around £45 million ($53.75 million). This will be the first of what should be at least three signings to help bolster our back line. Ake should benefit our defense.
His First Stint
He came to Chelsea for the first time in 2011 as a part of our youth team after winning the UEFA U-17 championships with the Netherlands (he would win it again in 2012). He made his first-team debut in 2012 in stoppage time against Norwich. He also played against Rubin Kazan in the Europa League (we ended up winning the competition (we"ve won it all!). He was named Chelsea Young Player of the Year in 2013 but never made it in the first team and made just 17 appearances in five seasons. He ended up being sold to Bournemouth for £20 million ($23.76 million).
Bournemouth and Man City
He ended up spending three years at Bournemouth before moving after they were relegated to the Championship. He did make 109 appearances in his three seasons there including playing all 38 Premier League games in two separate seasons.
Man City ended up buying him for £41 million ($48.73 million) in 2020. He won his first three major trophies including two Premier League titles and reached a Champions League Final (which he lost to us). He was a rotation player at City and made 40 appearances over two seasons.
How He Benefits Us
Plays Multiple Positions
We have a lot of versatility in forward roles but not as much in defense, especially if Azpilicueta leaves in the summer. Ake can play at left-back, center-back, or defensive midfield. His ability to play defensive midfield could be especially versatile as this would allow us to have the option to play four at the back more frequently which could improve our attack.
Is An Elite Passer
He is in the 93rd percentile among center backs with a 91.6% completion percentage which is made even more useful when combined with his 6.12 progressive carries per 90 minutes (96th percentile). These two stats show that he does not give the ball away very often and can advance the ball forward.
Can Score Goals
He actually had 0.22 non-penalty goals per 90 which is even better than all of our midfielders and is in the 99th percentile for center backs. He is doing this on a relatively low volume as well as his 0.65 shots per 90 is in the 74th percentile. That shows that he is effective while shooting as well.
Weakens A Rival
This won"t be a massive loss for City but it still takes away a crucial depth piece and with the condensed schedule due to the Qatar World Cup, every player capable of playing at a Premier League level improves their chances of being able to navigate an injury crisis (which is more likely this season). This could prove crucial if we can manage to cut the gap with more good signings this summer.
Good In The Air
Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso are expected to leave the club which leaves us without any strong aerial presence in defense. Ake helps solve this problem as he wins 3.82 aerial duels per 90 which rank in the 87th percentile for all center backs.
Overall View And Next Steps
This is a solid transfer but not one that gets us within striking range of Liverpool and City. Nevertheless, this would be a crucial first step in rebuilding our defense. I feel that still need to get a couple more starting calibre defenders as well as one more creative player and a truly elite striker.
main image credits: