Not long ago, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte made the decision to recall Nathan Ake from his successful loan spell at Bournemouth. The 21-year-old defender has been in brilliant form for a Bournemouth side proving doubters wrong with the South Coast side currently sitting ninth on the table. Recalling the Dutch defender is the right decision for Chelsea as he is a very versatile player who can play at centre half, left back and defensive midfield.
Ake’s recall has been reported in the Evening Standard as cover for current wing back Marcos Alonso who has supposedly been playing through injury since his arrival in SW6 on deadline day. The Spaniard has been playing well since moving to West London although I feel that his performances are more down to the system than his natural talent. If that is the reason for his recall, he will definitely add depth to Chelsea and will give them the opportunity to rest Alonso if the injury grows worse.
Another player who could play the wing back role if Alonso is injured is Brazilian Kenedy. After struggling with injuries, the 20-year-old was sent back to Chelsea from his loan at Watford last month. It was also rumoured that Watford manager, Walter Mazzari didn’t like his attitude, something that really doesn’t surprise me. If the rumours are true about the reason that Conte recalled Ake, that points towards him not being a massive fan of Kenedy and could mean a move away from the Bridge for him soon.
Nathan Ake is more naturally a centre back and that is where he has been playing for Bournemouth. If Conte bought him with the intention of playing him as a centre half, this could possibly mean that one of the two ageing Chelsea centre halves, Ivanovic and Terry, could be on their way out of Stamford Bridge. Both are fan favourites in West London but neither are the player they once were so leaving wouldn’t be the worst idea on both the player and the clubs behalf.
Also, if Conte does want him as a centre back, I can’t see what’s in it for him as he would be Chelsea’s fifth best central defender behind Cahill, Luiz, Azpilicueta and Zouma. You could also argue that at present, Ake isn’t even as good as Ivanovic and Terry so Conte wanting him as a left back seems more logical as I doubt he would want to be the seventh-string centre half.
The versatility of Ake was one of the main reason’s Conte said he recalled him. Although playing mostly centre back and left back in recent seasons, the player has stated himself that he prefers playing in a central midfield role. Having players that can play multiple positions are vital if a side are going to push to win ‘The Double’ as Chelsea will be looking for this season.
Ake is a great young player but I can’t see him getting in the first team action any time soon. He is certainly a very strong player in a second-string team and provides great injury cover for the players that Conte rates very highly. Even is the rumours about Alonso’s fitness aren’t true, Then recalling him is a great move for both Ake and the club.