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Manchester City: Nathan Ake identified as alternative target to Harry Maguire

Manchester City: Nathan Ake identified as alternative target to Harry Maguire

Having so far been unsuccessful in their attempts to sign Harry Maguire from Leicester, Manchester City have identified another Premier League centre-back as a transfer target.

The Telegraph reported that the club are interested in Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake, although the Premier League champions have not yet dropped their interest in Maguire.

According to The Telegraph, Manchester City value the England international at £60million, which is considerably lower than Leicester’s valuation of £90m. The champions have already had a bid for Maguire rejected by Leicester, as mentioned in the Daily Star.

Pep Guardiola is therefore looking at other options and Ake is being monitored, according to the Daily Express. The Bournemouth man, valued at £27m on Transfermarkt.co.uk, should cost significantly less than Maguire would.

Former Chelsea defender Ake never established himself at Stamford Bridge, playing just 17 times for the Blues.

However, he has been a fixed presence in Bournemouth’s line-up since joining them permanently in 2017. He has played in all of the Cherries’ Premier League games in those two years, starting all but one, and has scored six goals as well as supplying four assists for Eddie Howe’s side.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Rik Sharma noted that Ake is “calm in possession“, with the player saying that he likes playing the ball out from the back.

The Netherlands international averages 44.6 passes per game and has a passing success rate of 86% (via WhoScored), indicating that he is a defender who is comfortable with the ball at his feet.

Of Ake’s 44.6 passes per game, 40.3 were short passes (90.3% of total). Of those 40.3 short passes, 36.5 found a team-mate (90.5% accuracy).

A player of Ake’s passing ability seems like a good fit for Guardiola’s Manchester City side, given that they had the most passes of any Premier League team last season with 26,581 (699.5 per game).

Maguire averages more passes per game with 56.4, although his 85.6% accuracy is inferior to Ake’s. The Leicester man is also more inclined than Ake to play it long, with 9.5 of his 56.4 passes per match being hit long (16.8% of total).

Ake’s passing metrics, and his short passing especially, outweigh those of Maguire even though he has a far lower valuation than the England defender.

The Bournemouth man seems the much better value option of the two, but his passing statistics don’t look as impressive when weighed up against Manchester City’s current squad.

Thirteen of the champions’ squad averaged more passes per game than Ake last season, while 14 had better passing success rates, the top four of which were all centre-backs.

With Guardiola already having a multitude of centre-backs who are so comfortable on the ball, Ake would simply be another player to put on that list and therefore is unlikely to add anything major that Manchester City don’t already have.

Manchester City fans, do you think Ake would be a good fit for Guardiola’s team? Join in the discussion by commenting below!

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