By Russell Edge
Chelsea are readying themselves for a double bid from Bournemouth for goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and defender Nathan Ake, according to a report.
The Guardian claim that the Cherries are looking to swoop for the pair this summer in deals which will cost the south coast side approximately £32m in total.
Both players are on the fringes of Chelsea, with Begovic acting as understudy to the Blues’ number one Thibaut Courtois and Ake behind the likes of Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta in defence.
The Bosnian goalkeeper arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2015 for £8m from Stoke, with the 29-year-old expected to cost Bournemouth £12m this summer.
He has made just two Premier League appearances this season, including Monday’s 4-3 victory over Watford.
Ake meanwhile is likely to demand a much higher fee, with the Guardian reporting Eddie Howe’s side will test the waters with a £20m bid for their former on-loan man.
The 22-year-old Dutch defender spent the first half of the season on loan at the Vitality Stadium, making 10 appearances and scoring three goals, before having his spell cut short by his parent club.
Like Begovic, the defender has made just two league appearances for the Blues since returning on loan, with his only start coming in Monday’s victory over the Hornets.
The Cherries may face a fight for his signature however, with newly promoted Premier League side Newcastle showing interest in the centre back, according to the Chronicle.
Football Insider verdict:
It will be interesting to see whether Antonio Conte lets some of his top fringe players depart this season. At 29-years-old, Begovic is likely to be searching for first-team football and would almost certainly find that at Bournemouth. However, this would mean Conte would have to go in search of another Premier League quality goalkeeper to act as backup to Thibaut Courtois. As for Ake, it seems that Chelsea are uncertain as to whether they want to let one of their brightest stars depart. With John Terry leaving, it means that the Blues will still need a top class defender or two to warm the bench in case of injuries or suspensions at the back. Another loan spell might work out better for the clubs.
In other Chelsea news, this Tottenham flop is earning £25,000-a-week more than Chelsea captain John Terry.