Manchester City have completed the signing of Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake on a five (5) years deal after the 25-year-old Dutch international successfully passed his medical in Manchester.
Ake becomes City’s second signing of the summer after they announced the arrival of Ferran Torres from Valencia.
Bournemouth needed to cash in on Ake following their relegation from the Premier League and City have agreed a £40 million deal with a further £1m in bonuses, sources told ESPN.
“City have been the best side in England over the course of the last decade,” Ake said in quotes on the club’s website.
“Coming here is a dream for me. This is a top side full of world-class players. Everywhere you look in this squad there are big names with international pedigree.
“Pep is a manager admired across the world – what he’s done in the game speaks for itself. The success he’s had is unbelievable and the style of football he plays really appeals to me.
“I know I’m going to have to work hard to get into the side, but that’s what I’m here to do. I’ll do whatever I can to make an impact and help the team win silverware.”
Manchester City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain highlighted the qualities Ake will bring to the Etihad.
“Nathan is a quality defender. He was a leader during his time at Bournemouth, and I am so pleased we’ve managed to bring him here,” Begiristain said.
“He’s strong and quick, and we feel he has the technical and intellectual attributes needed to excel in Pep’s setup.
“Working with this squad, which is full of world-class players, will raise his level, and we are looking forward to seeing what he can achieve here in the coming years.”
Chelsea had a buy-back clause in the deal that sold Ake to Bournemouth in 2017 but sources told ESPN they were not interested in a deal to re-sign their former player.
The 25-year-old made 121 appearances for Bournemouth after moving from Chelsea, initially on loan, in 2016. He has won 13 caps for the Netherlands.
We’re excited to announce the signing of @NathanAke from Bournemouth on a five-year deal ✍️
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 5, 2020
Ake’s arrival will add further doubts about the futures of Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones. The pair fell behind Eric Garcia in the pecking order once the Premier League restarted amid the coronavirus pandemic and have been linked with moves away from the Etihad Stadium.
The 25-year-old defender returned from holiday on Tuesday and could be announced as Pep Guardiola’s second summer signing before the weekend.
According to Sky Sports, City opened talks with Bournemouth before the end of the Premier League season and last week agreed a £40m fee – with a further £1m in add-ons.
Personal terms are not expected to be a problem and it will be a club-record sale for Bournemouth.
Ake will join Ferran Torres at the Etihad Stadium after the Spain U21 winger completed a £20.8m switch from Valencia on Tuesday.
Ake moved to Bournemouth from Chelsea for a club-record £20m deal in 2017 and was linked with a return to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea had a buy-back clause on the Netherlands international but it is understood Frank Lampard was not interested in re-signing him.
Ake made 29 appearances for Bournemouth last season as they were relegated to the Championship, finishing a point from safety in 18th place.
Manchester City are looking to sign as many as five more players during the transfer window and want their business done by the start of the new season on September 12.
The club completed a deal for Valencia winger Ferran Torres and are expected to complete the signing of Ake later this week.
Defenders are now the priority, but deals for both a left back and a second centre half, most likely Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, are still some way off.
Further up the pitch, City face the daunting task of finding long-term replacements for two Premier League legends in David Silva and Sergio Aguero.
Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez remains the number one choice to fill the number 9 shirt, while The Athletic have reported City had enquired about the availability of Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix, who has endured a difficult start following his £113m move last year from Benfica.
Analysis: Could Ake solve City’s defensive problems?
Of the current Premier League defenders aged 25 or under, only Hector Bellerin and Luke Shaw have racked up more top-flight appearances than Ake.
The chart below shows Ake’s positional development, revealing a versatility which would appeal to the likes of Pep Guardiola, who moved defensive midfielder Fernandinho into central defence to cover Aymeric Laporte.
Since he made his permanent switch in 2017, the Cherries’ win percentage jumps with him in the team and they concede fewer goals. That blend of youth, experience, versatility and effectiveness certainly bodes well for City.
For all the flowing, attacking football, Guardiola’s side are shipping almost one goal per game – the same ratio as his inaugural season before the serious rebuild.
To put a figure on it: the defence is currently 34 per cent less efficient, compared with last season.
Much was made of how City failed to replace Vincent Kompany after his departure from the club, but it was the serious injury to Laporte which exposed the cracks.
Without Laporte, City’s weaknesses were laid bare. Even with Laporte, a natural partner is missing.
Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones and Eric Garcia have been tested, but Guardiola has still preferred to play veteran midfielder Fernandinho as one of the pair. Fellow midfielder Rodri has played there, too.
The lessons are clear. City are scintillating in attack and have emerging stars in those areas to fill veteran voids, but needed to splash cash on at least one centre-back this summer.
Summer transfer window – key dates and times
The summer transfer window will run for 10 weeks from July 27 and close at 11pm on October 5.
A domestic-only window for trades between the Premier League and EFL then runs from October 5 and closes on Friday October 16 at 5pm. Follow all the news and analysis on The Score Nigeria.