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How does Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake fit in at Manchester City?

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how does bournemouth defender nathan ake fit in at manchester city

It comes as no surprise that Manchester City are looking at Nathan Ake to help fill the defensive void left by Vincent Kompany or simply provide further backup.

Ake, who left Chelsea for Bournemouth in 2017, has over the past three years developed into a reliable and composed central defender who is comfortable with the ball at his feet. 

The 25-year-old is reported to have a £35million price tag, which is a small sum for City, yet how would he fit into Pep Guardiola‘s defence? Here, Sportsmail takes a closer at the pros and cons should City make a move for him.

Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake has been linked with a £35m move to Manchester City

Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake has been linked with a £35m move to Manchester City

Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake has been linked with a £35m move to Manchester City

Pros

At 25, Ake is reaching a prime age in his development as a central defender. His performances this season at Bournemouth have shown just how much he has grown in confidence. 

He has also learned from Steve Cook alongside him how to become a leader in a team that, until this season, had largely punched above their weight.

Ake’s also rarely injured, with a hamstring injury in 2014 being the only problem he has had in his senior career.

Not that a club with the bank balance the size of City’s will mind, but Ake will also come much cheaper than say Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly because of the predicament Bournemouth find themselves in.

At 25, Ake is reaching a prime age in his development as a defender in the Premier League

At 25, Ake is reaching a prime age in his development as a defender in the Premier League

At 25, Ake is reaching a prime age in his development as a defender in the Premier League

With Bournemouth relegated, Ake will likely be one of the first players out of the door.

A deal worth £35m for Ake would represent fantastic value for any side with Manchester United also said to be in the hunt for the defender. After United beat Bournemouth 5-2 earlier this month at Old Trafford, footage appeared to show Solskjaer rather cheekily telling Ake: ‘We need a left-footed centre-back, keep going.’

But Ake is known to be an admirer of Guardiola so working with him and the promise of competing for top honours would surely be the ideal scenario for the defender.

Ake is technically bright, too. He prefers to pass the ball out to team-mates close to him or in advanced positions rather than boot it as far upfield as possible. Having that ability on the ball would prove hugely valuable in a City side that needs to be able to start attacks from any part of the pitch.

Pep Guardiola likes his central defenders to play out from the back and Ake can do that well

Pep Guardiola likes his central defenders to play out from the back and Ake can do that well

Pep Guardiola likes his central defenders to play out from the back and Ake can do that well

Ake is, however, also highly admired by Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ake is, however, also highly admired by Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ake is, however, also highly admired by Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

The United boss appeared to tell the defender that he needs a new left-footed centre-back

The United boss appeared to tell the defender that he needs a new left-footed centre-back

The United boss appeared to tell the defender that he needs a new left-footed centre-back

He is also one of the fastest central defenders in the Premier League. That is incredibly helpful with City typically holding a high defensive line. City are often most vulnerable when sides break at pace or press them to make mistakes. 

Having Ake in the side, in the last line of defence ahead of Ederson, would allow City to hold an even higher line with the assurance that he, as well as his colleagues at full-back, can race back to avert danger in a way Aymeric Laporte and John Stones currently can’t.

Cons  

Those critical of a move for Ake will suggest he isn’t one of the world’s best and hasn’t experienced football at the highest level in the Champions League.

It’s easy to look at John Stones as an example of how pushing a player into a side required to defend against the world’s most potent attacks can go wrong at first.

Stones struggled – and still has problems now – when he arrived at the Etihad from Everton four years ago.

John Stones struggled to settle in City's side when he first joined from Everton in 2016

John Stones struggled to settle in City's side when he first joined from Everton in 2016

John Stones struggled to settle in City’s side when he first joined from Everton in 2016

There is no guarantee that Ake wouldn’t suffer the same issues when placed under much more scrutiny than that he has experienced at Bournemouth.

It is also likely that Ake wouldn’t be able to partner Aymeric Laporte given both are left-footed. When constructing a defence, a manager’s first task usually is getting the balance right.

That becomes even more of an important requirement when a manager such as Guardiola wants his side to be able to pass the ball out from the back. Having two defenders who play with the same foot also creates problems when put under pressure. 

Central defensive partnerships with balance are better suited to covering each other at critical points than those without.

Some of the great centre-back partnerships have been those that consisted of right and left-footed players.

The great Ajax side of the 90s: Frank de Boer (left) and Danny Blind (right). The pairing that made Italy and Juventus so tough to beat: Giorgio Chiellini (left) and Leonardo Bonucci (right). 

Aymeric Laporte is left-footed which could cause problems if him and Ake play together

Aymeric Laporte is left-footed which could cause problems if him and Ake play together

Aymeric Laporte is left-footed which could cause problems if him and Ake play together

Perhaps that problem means that Ake would only be considered as backup for Laporte. 

Another weakness of Ake’s game is his generally poor ability in the air. At 5ft 11in, Ake would be City’s shortest central defender. And while 5ft 11in certainly isn’t short, he isn’t of the height that allows a defender to comfortably win aerial duels.

That becomes further apparent when you assess Ake’s stats. Out of 58 players who have played at centre half this season in the Premier League, Ake ranks 57th for aerial duel success.

Only Southampton’s Jack Stephens is worse than Ake’s 46.6 per cent return. Indeed, his ability in the air is shown up even more when compared him with the rest of Europe’s top defenders. Ake ranks in the bottom 25 of 282 central defenders for the same stat across the continent’s five top leagues.

That presents quite the problem for City who tend to be targeted with long balls over the top or from set pieces. It is an issue Guardiola has worked hard to combat – Kompany was a blessing in that regard for many years with Laporte helping him towards the end of his City career – and one Ake wouldn’t come necessarily close to solving. 

City didn't replace Vincent Kompany last summer and that has hindered them this season

City didn't replace Vincent Kompany last summer and that has hindered them this season

City didn’t replace Vincent Kompany last summer and that has hindered them this season

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Manchester City to complete club record £64m deal for Benfica centre back Ruben Dias

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manchester city to complete club record 64m deal for benfica centre back ruben dias

Manchester City will complete a club record £64million deal for Ruben Dias, ending a two-year pursuit of the Benfica centre back.

Dias will become the most expensive player in City’s history – eclipsing the £62.8m paid to Atletico Madrid for Rodri a year ago – with Nicolas Otamendi joining Benfica for £13.7m as part of the deal.

The 23-year-old Portugal international has passed a medical but the transfer will only go through once Otamendi has been given the all-clear by his new club.

Benfica captain Ruben DIas is on the verge of signing for Manchester City for £64million

Benfica captain Ruben DIas is on the verge of signing for Manchester City for £64million

City boss Pep Guardiola has decided to let Nicolas Otamendi move in the opposite direction

City boss Pep Guardiola has decided to let Nicolas Otamendi move in the opposite direction

City’s 5-2 capitulation at home to Leicester on Sunday underlined the need to strengthen at the back despite spending £40m on Nathan Ake from Bournemouth.

Dias was one of four options considered by the club which included Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli, Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and Jose Gimenez at Atletico.

But City believe they have gone for the right man having tracked Dias in previous transfer windows, and got a good deal considering the £80m release clause in his contract.

The Benfica skipper, who has previously attracted interest from Manchester United, Arsenal and Juventus, is understood to fit the bill for Pep Guardiola in terms of age, profile and the quality of defender he wanted.

The 23-year-old has attracted interest from Manchester United, Arsenal and Juventus before

The 23-year-old has attracted interest from Manchester United, Arsenal and Juventus before

City were put off by the price on both Koulibaly and Gimenez, although no formal bid was made for either player according to sources who say the process has underlined the club’s willingness to walk away from a transfer if the terms are not right.

There were also issues with Sevilla over Kounde’s valuation and it’s believed that City were concerned that the 21-year-old Frenchman was too much of an unknown quantity to bring to the Premier League at this stage of his career.

The opportunity to trade Otamendi to Benfica in exchange for Dias was a bonus with City recouping almost half of the £32m paid to Valencia for the Argentine defender five years ago.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Jamie Carragher writes off Scott Parker’s Fulham side after just THREE games in the Premier League

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jamie carragher writes off scott parkers fulham side after just three games in the premier league

Jamie Carragher has called Fulham owner Tony Khan a ‘clown’ and insisted that Fulham are more likely to be relegated from the Premier League than Liverpool are to retain their title.

Former Liverpool and England centre-back Carragher watched Fulham put on a defensive horror show as they lost 3-0 at home to Aston Villa on Monday and had no sympathy after supremo Khan apologised to fans on Twitter.

Slamming Khan’s decision to post about the fiasco on social media, Carragher told Sky Sports: ‘It never works, it always ends up in tears.

Fulham are bottom of the Premier League after conceding 10 goals in three games this season

Fulham are bottom of the Premier League after conceding 10 goals in three games this season

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher slammed frail Fulham and club owner Tony Khan

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher slammed frail Fulham and club owner Tony Khan

‘He’s a clown, getting involved with that. Just shut your mouth, get on with it, keep your head down.

‘It was a really poor performance. It was that bad, we were actually laughing at some of the defending. Fulham are going down – I’ve never been more certain about anything in my life. 

‘I’m more certain of Fulham going down than Liverpool winning the league. What we saw there was actually unbelievable.’

Flummoxed Khan revealed he had missed out on four defensive targets since Fulham were promoted from the Championship in August, while beleaguered boss Scott Parker admitted he was not fully aware of the owner’s struggle to enhance his squad.

Khan used Twitter to address supporters in the aftermath of the 3-0 home defeat by Aston Villa

Khan used Twitter to address supporters in the aftermath of the 3-0 home defeat by Aston Villa

The owner claimed that the club had been hampered in their attempts to boost their defence

The owner claimed that the club had been hampered in their attempts to boost their defence

Khan criticised the playing staff in a move that left Carragher and Roy Keane deeply perturbed

Khan criticised the playing staff in a move that left Carragher and Roy Keane deeply perturbed

Carragher fiercely criticised Khan’s role in Fulham’s big-spending summer two years ago, when they went on to be relegated with a whimper after winning promotion.

He said: ‘He was buying all the players, he made a right mess of that. What does Scott Parker think about this? What do those lads who are playing at the back think about that, who have maybe got to play in midweek or at the weekend?

‘Just keep your mouth shut. They were a mess last time they came up. What they don’t want to be this year is a mess. They’re going to go down but almost go down together, be a club, stick together.’

Former Manchester United midfielder Keane added that he could not see any of the positives mentioned by Cottagers manager Scott Parker (above) during his post-match remarks

Former Manchester United midfielder Keane added that he could not see any of the positives mentioned by Cottagers manager Scott Parker (above) during his post-match remarks

Carragher singled out full-back Denis Odoi for his part in the Cottagers’ third consecutive defeat since their return to the Premier League, while fellow pundit Roy Keane also directed a warning at Khan.

The former Manchester United midfielder said: ‘You talk about engaging with supporters but you shouldn’t be discussing the club’s business or your transfer targets.

‘That’s nobody’s business. When you’ve been beaten 3-0 at home, take your medicine and look at things over the next few days. Bizarre.’ 

There have been reminders of Fulham's last Premier League season in their first three games

There have been reminders of Fulham’s last Premier League season in their first three games

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Arsenal set Friday deadline by Lyon president to wrap up their move for £45-rated midfielder Aouar

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arsenal set friday deadline by lyon president to wrap up their move for 45 rated midfielder aouar

Arsenal have been set a Friday deadline to complete the signing of Houssem Aouar by Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas. 

The Gunners are determined to sign the 22-year-old this summer and are set to raise their dismissed £32million offer to £36.5m with a further £9m in bonuses in a hope to secure the creative midfielder, according to football.london

Aulas is also braced for late bids for forwards Moussa Dembele and Memphis Depay.

Arsenal are preparing a significantly improved second bid for target Houssem Aouar

Arsenal are preparing a significantly improved second bid for target Houssem Aouar

He told footmercato.net: ‘I’m thinking of proposing it tomorrow (Tuesday) to Rudi (Garcia) and Juninho, sporting director), because it’s understandable.

‘As of Friday, players who have not left will not leave. We don’t need to sell and, for me, it’s very easy to say that. 

‘After that, we can find agreements with players and clubs for a year to come.’  

Aouar, who has made 130 appearances for Lyon, is paramount to Mikel Arteta’s plans as he looks to deploy his team in a 4-3-3 formation this season.

The 22-year-old attacking midfielder will be vital to Mikel Arteta's 4-3-3 formation this season

The 22-year-old attacking midfielder will be vital to Mikel Arteta’s 4-3-3 formation this season

Despite rejecting their opening offer, Lyon club president Jean-Michel Aulas suggested that the club would be open to selling Aouar for the right price.

He tweeted: ‘For Houssem Arsenal is too far from his value: we are counting on him to play a great match in Lorient and lead OL in CL next year.’

Aouar has been previously valued at £54m but it is believed the Ligue 1 side will lower their asking price amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Aouar is reportedly keen to depart the Ligue 1 club before the end of the transfer window, meaning any deal must be completed before the deadline on October 5.  

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas wants any deals to be completed by Friday

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas wants any deals to be completed by Friday 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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