By Dominic Toner
Jamie Redknapp believes that defender Nathan Ake could become a future Chelsea star.
The 21-year-old is currently on a season-long loan deal at Bournemouth from Chelsea and has looked impressive this season.
He scored a late winner on Saturday against Liverpool as Bournemouth secured a dramatic 4-3 home victory, while also netting the decisive goal in a 1-0 win against Stoke.
Ake is a versatile player who can slot in at centre-back, left-back or central midfield.
Redknapp claims that Ake could be the perfect long-term solution for the Blues and he would be able to slot into a back three in the first team.
“The centre back has impressed since coming into the Bournemouth team,” Redknapp wrote in the Mail. “Although there are elements of his game he needs to improve upon, Ake could end up saving Chelsea a lot of money.
“Chelsea are crying out for a left-side centre-back. Gary Cahill has done well there this season but the position does not come naturally to him.”
He added: “Chelsea may go out and by someone like Giorgio Chellini but they could have a long-term solution on their books in Ake. The Dutchman is tenacious, has a good left foot and is brilliant in the air, despite only being 5ft 11in. He is a real athlete and covers ground well.”
Chelsea have won their last eight consecutive league games since manager Antonio Conte switched to a three-man defence, with just two goals conceded in that time.
Redknapp identified a potential weakness in England international Gary Cahill filling in on the left hand side of a back three, with the defender scoring an own goal against Manchester City after an attempted clearance.
Ake is a left footed defender and would be comfortable in the three-man defence that has worked so well for the Blues.
The Dutchman was sent away from Stamford Bridge to gain more top flight experience and he is developing into a solid player.
He made 28 appearances last season during a loan spell with Watford and has now broken into the starting XI under Eddie Howe at Bournemouth.
Chelsea boss Conte will be aware of the club’s loanee Ake and he could be a potential fit for his system in the future.
In other Chelsea news, Pep Guardiola has delivered a shock verdict on the club.