Nathan Ake ended a long wait last weekend when he finally started for Bournemouth. He has since batted away speculation linking him with a premature Chelsea return.
Nathan Ake has seen his development hit a significant stumbling block this season. After a productive year on loan at Watford, the defender was sent to Eddie Howe’s exciting Bournemouth project this time out. He made his first Premier League start last Saturday and is focused on making the most of his time at the seaside.
After just two substitute appearances in league play thus far, Ake was named in the starting line-up for Bournemouth’s clash with Stoke City. Not only did he impress, he also bagged the only goal of the contest.
Speaking after the contest, Ake dismissed speculation suggesting that he would cut his loan spell short and return to West London in January.
"I don’t know where that (Chelsea story) comes from. It came from nothing. I ignore it and focus on what I have to do in training – and focus on Bournemouth. This is the feeling you want after games you’ve played. You win and go home on the coach feeling happy. That’s what I’ve missed and now it’s back so I’m delighted. – via Bournemouth Daily Echo"
It has been a long three months for the youngster. Ake has been included in the matchday squad on 13 occasions. However, he has only made it onto the field five times, mostly in the EFL Cup or as a late Premier League substitute.
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This is a far cry from his 2015/16 campaign, in which he started 20 Premier League games for Watford. Moreover, he thoroughly impressed, exciting Chelsea fans about what the future held in store.
At the age of 21, the Dutchman needs football and hence a loan switch to Bournemouth made sense. Eddie Howe is doing all the right things with the Cherries and this should have theoretically provided Ake with an opportunity to play regular top flight football with a decent club.
Unfortunately, he has thus far struggled to force his way into the first team, giving rise to these Chelsea return rumours.
Having said that, his performance against Stoke proves that there is light at the end of the tunnel for the defender. Not only did he perform to an acceptable level, he showcased his attacking threat by converting a Junior Stanislas set-piece.
On the back of this, Howe will find it hard to drop him and hopefully Ake will use this as a platform off which to kickstart his season. The last thing he needs is to be wasting away on the bench.