This Player Would Be Ideal For Conte’s Defence – Claims Former Tottenham Midfielder

Nathan Ake

The Blues have massively rallied in defence, only conceding two goals in the last 8 matches. Yet Gary Cahill’s error that gifted Manchester City the opening goal in Chelsea’s 3-1 victory at Etihad Stadium was an eye-opener that reinforcements are much needed. Former Liverpool player Jamie Redknapp believes that Nathan Ake could be the answer.

The 21-year-old defender is currently on loan to Bournemouth and has started the previous three matches. He certainly hogged the headlines last Sunday after encouraging his side to a heroic 4-3 comeback victory against Jurgen Klopp’s men. They were trailing for the most part of the game, yet made the visitors pay for their defensive vulnerabilities and Ake netted the match’s winning goal in the stoppage time to alight the Dean Court.

Besides helping the Cherries to nab maximum points, he expanded the breathing space between Liverpool and his parent club too. Chelsea continue to lead the league and the Reds are 4 points adrift after the shocking loss.

Similar to most Chelsea academy products, the Dutchman struggled to find a way into the first team and settled for a number of loans moves to prove his worth. Before moving to Bournemouth, his CV was already stamped by Reading and Watford. Standing at 5’11”, he may not own an exemplary centre-back brawn yet is able to neutralise threats without heaping needless pressure on him.  Apart from defensive contribution, he also has an eye for goal, having scored two goals out of three shots already. Certainly, a temptation for Conte to think about.

Cahill is being deployed as a left-sided centre-back in the three-man backline despite being right footed. It did not seem to be an obstacle till his mistake of putting up the wrong foot when attempting to clear Jesus Navas’ pacy cross which ended at the back of his own net. It was the England international’s second defensive error of the season that has directly led to a goal.

“Chelsea are crying out for a left-sided centre back,” the ex-Liverpool player told the Daily Mail.

“Gary Cahill has done well there this season but the position does not come naturally to him.

“Chelsea may go out and buy someone like Giorgio Chiellini but they could have a long-term solution on their books in Ake.

“The Dutchman is tenacious, has a good left foot and is brilliant in the air, despite only being 5ft 11in. He is a real athlete and covers ground well.”

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It’s difficult not to agree with the 43-year-old, as Antonio Conte is constantly being linked with a compendium of centre-backs nearing the January transfer window and most of the mentioned names do take a big bite out of the budget. If experience is questioned, Ake has already racked up two seasons of Premier League minutes. Also, with Chelsea legend John Terry nearing his career climax and Kurt Zouma racing against time to be fully fit, Conte needs to shore up his defensive ranks.

Redknapp added: “If he keeps his place, Ake will have had two years’ Premier League experience on loan at Watford and Bournemouth.

“He will have gone a long way to showing he could go back to Chelsea to be a part of their set-up in the next year or two.

“The last central defender to come through the youth system and become a regular at Stamford Bridge was John Terry.

“Could Chelsea have finally found another?”

Putting theory aside, the fans are eagerly expecting a home-grown player to bridge the gap between academy graduates and the senior squad as it’s pretty hard to identify a player who would continue the pecking order of Frank Lampard and John Terry.

Nathan Ake would be contented with Redknapp’s opinion and this season could be his curtain-raiser before forcing his way into Conte’s outline.

 

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