The Chelsea fans in the Transfer Tavern were delighted when Nathan Ake returned to Stamford Bridge earlier this week…
The Dutch defender, who has been with Chelsea since 2012, has played for Chelsea before, but often once players fall into the trap of going on loan at Stamford Bridge – it is very hard to get out.
Credit to Nathan Ake, though, who has impressed whilst away from the club and made himself impossible to ignore for Antonio Conte – and in truth, the decision to bring him back could be a masterstroke at the end of the season.
Now, nobody is expecting the Dutch defender to come straight in and make an impact. He is sure to be a slow burner and slowly edge his way into the side, but long-term – it could really work out.
On a basic level, Chelsea don’t have much depth, particularly defensively, and Ake will solve that problem. He is a versatile and can play at left-back, right-back, central defence and even in central midfield – meaning that he can be a jack of all trades for Antonio Conte. His strongest area, though, is arguably at left-back – and he could prove to be a real option for Conte there.
You only have to look at the impact that he has made for Bournemouth this season, scoring goals and making chances, and you will begin to understand what he can do for Chelsea. He is impossible to ignore, and that is so often not the case for a left-back – a position that typically falls into the background.
You also have to consider Chelsea’s current left-back, Marcos Alonso, and the question marks over his head. He has performed well, but against bigger sides he has struggled – and that certainly has left cause for concern. The Evening Standard also recently reported on an injury that he has been dealing with – and long-term, playing whilst injured is going to cause issues. Nathan Ake could come in seamlessly and solve those problems.
Bringing back a player on loan is quite an easy and under-the-radar move – but for Antonio Conte, it could become a move of genius by the end of the season. Ake can do it all, and his arrival bodes well for the future of the Chelsea loan system.
Chelsea fans – thoughts?
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