CHELSEA desperately need a left-sided centre-back and Nathan Ake could be the answer to their problems.
Those are the thoughts of Jamie Redknapp.
Ake, who was sent on loan to Bournemouth by Chelsea at the beginning of the campaign, has been handed Premier League starts by Eddie Howe in each of the club’s past three matches.
The 21-year-old repaid his manager’s trust and hit the winner in his side’s 4-3 victory over Liverpool on Sunday.
While Gary Cahill has functioned as the Blues’ left-sided centre-back, Redknapp thinks Ake would slot perfectly into Conte’s system.
“Chelsea are crying out for a left-sided centre back,” Redknapp told the Daily Mail.
“Gary Cahill has done well there this season but the position does not come naturally to him.
“Chelsea may go out and buy someone like Giorgio Chiellini 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.”
Redknapp believes Ake could break into Chelsea’s first team next term if he keeps hold of his starting line-up with the Cherries.
He added: “If he keeps his place, Ake will have had two years’ Premier League experience on loan at Watford and Bournemouth.
“He will have gone a long way to showing he could go back to Chelsea to be a part of their set-up in the next year or two.
“The last central defender to come through the youth system and become a regular at Stamford Bridge was John Terry.
“Could Chelsea have finally found another?”