COMMENT By Will Butcher
Chelsea should cancel Nathan Ake’s loan at Bournemouth as they look to maintain their stranglehold at the top of the Premier League.
The 21-year-old has been in magnificent form for Eddie Howe’s Cherries, playing a pivotal role in their solid start to the season which sees Bournemouth lie in 10th place.
After not featuring for the first part of the season, Ake has now started six Premier League games in a row, scoring three goals and helping to keep two clean sheets.
Here are three reasons why Chelsea should recall their in-form defender to Stamford Bridge in January:
Able to play at centre-back, left-back or in a holding midfield role, Ake could be brought back to cope with the demanding rigours of the Premier League.
Injuries are likely to occur over the next month as the busy winter period takes its toll, and Ake would provide proven cover at the back for Antonio Conte.
The Holland Under-21 international would prove a vital addition to the Blues back line if brought back in, as Chelsea compete in both the FA Cup and the Premier League.
Form of Ivanovic, Zouma injury doubts
With Chelsea’s back three of Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill and David Luiz performing spectacularly, quality cover is needed if one gets injured.
Branislav Ivanovic has failed to show the kind of form that is required in recent seasons, while Kurt Zouma is still on the comeback from injury.
Bringing back Ake would provide quality cover as both of these players struggle to work their way back into Conte’s first-team plans.
Signed from Feyenoord’s youth team at just 16 years of age, Ake has proven he has an eye for goal this season.
Three goals in just six Premier League starts for Bournemouth against Liverpool, Stoke and Southampton from centre-back could add an extra dimension to the Blues title pursuit.
In other Chelsea news, this is the Blues’ flop of 2016.