Manchester Metropolis stepped up their preparations for the brand new season final week as they’d a bid of £40m plus add-ons accepted for Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake.
Pep Guardiola went into this summer time’s window eager to strengthen on the again after the workforce’s defensive weaknesses contributed to them surrendering their Premier League crown to Liverpool.
Ake joined Bournemouth in 2017 and made 121 appearances, establishing himself as one of many stand-out younger defenders within the Premier League.
His impending departure on the again of the Cherries’ relegation will not be an enormous shock, neither is Metropolis’s resolution to maneuver for him provided that Guardiola has lengthy been an admirer of the 25-year-old.
Ake consists in possession and a poster boy for the fashionable ball-playing central defender. This season, he recorded a move success fee of over 90 per cent.
That success fee is boosted by the truth that most of his passes are a part of brief and exact combos with team-mates close by, slightly than extra lengthy and direct balls ahead, but it’s nonetheless spectacular.
Moreover, he does have in his locker the flexibility to play extra incisive balls into the opposition’s half when required.
There are questions on how nicely he can scale up the amount of these passes with out impacting the standard, significantly provided that his common of slightly below 38 passes per 90 minutes is round half of the quantity he will probably be taking part in at Metropolis. But this can be a query that may solely be answered as soon as we see the defender in motion for the Blues.
Not simply a superb ballplayer, Ake can also be left-footed which provides an additional side to his enchantment. Left-footed centre-backs with Premier League expertise could be arduous to search out. Actually, he’s considered one of solely 5 left-footed central defenders to play over 900 Premier League minutes this season, with potential teammate Aymeric Laporte being a kind of gamers.
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Past his skills with the ball at his toes, we are able to’t neglect that Ake can also be an excellent defender. It may be troublesome to precisely fee defenders based mostly on their statistics alone, however rating contained in the league’s high 20 per cent when it comes to defensive duels gained and possession-adjusted interceptions per 90 does paint an image of an achieved defender on the ground.
An enormous difficulty in his numbers although is his underwhelming success fee in aerial duels. His common of 47.33 per cent this season places him inside the underside ten from 81 Premier League central defenders who’ve performed over 900 minutes. Moreover, he has a hit fee of below 50 per cent for aerial duels inside his personal penalty space.
This means he’s unlikely to enhance Metropolis when defending set-pieces and there’s additionally an opportunity he may battle to defend in Metropolis’s excessive line. That’s as a result of most Premier League sides will sit deep towards groups who deploy these techniques, aiming to absorb stress after which hit them on the counter in transitions.
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To do that, the ball will usually be performed lengthy as quickly as it’s gained. To nullify this risk, high groups like Metropolis require a commanding aerial presence to win the preliminary aerial duel and rapidly regain possession of the ball. It’s one thing Laporte does nicely at Metropolis now and one thing Virgil Van Dijk at Liverpool has additionally proved apt at.
If Ake is deployed alongside a defender like Laporte, then it will not be a serious difficulty. But when he’s to be seen as reliable left-sided cowl for the previous Athletic Bilbao participant, then it’s an space of his recreation that he might want to enhance on within the coming seasons.