Soccer

Nathan Ake in Manchester for Man City medical ahead of £41m transfer

Nathan Ake is in Manchester and expected to undergo a medical at Manchester City in the next 24 hours ahead of completing a £41m transfer from Bournemouth.

The 25-year-old defender returned from holiday on Tuesday and could be announced as Pep Guardiola’s second summer signing before the weekend.

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.

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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.

Analysis: Could Ake solve City’s defensive problems?

Sky Sports’ Adam Smith

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.

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