Chelsea defender Nathan Ake says his future lies in the hands of technical director Michael Emenalo.
In an interview with the Guardian, Ake was coy on his future at the club, claiming he will need to speak to both Antonio Conte and Emenalo ahead of next season.
While that may not have been such a concern for him in the past, Aké agrees that after making 34 Premier League appearances for Watford and Bournemouth over two seasons, he is probably beyond the stage where he is content to be wearing the Chelsea badge and sat among the substitutes every week.
“I know what you mean, because when I was 17, 18, 19, you are happy that you are going to be involved, or be on the bench, or get some minutes. But I think at my age now, you want to play a little bit more, also because I had a taste of it with last season and the start of this season,” he says.
“Of course you also know that this is a big club, so there will be big players and it’s not easy to come into the team. I just need to see what is going to happen with Michael [Emanelo, the technical director] or the manager. We have to talk and see what is best.”
“The main thing for me is to play games,” Ake adds. “Whether it is here, whether it is somewhere else, I don’t know yet. I need to see what Michael thinks. That’s what we need to discuss and see where we go from there.”
Aké speaks highly of Antonio Conte, who surprised him when he made the phone call in January, asking him to return to Stamford Bridge.
“I really like him. He called me in the office straight away on the first day, explaining how we play, where he sees me, which is more left-side centre-half, but in the centre if needed and sometimes as a left-wing back. I think the first two weeks I still needed to adjust but after then you know everything you need to do because we’re so well drilled.”
Ake was recalled from his loan spell with Bournemouth during the January transfer window but has only made one Premier League start since returning to Stamford Bridge.
The Dutch defender has shown signs of brilliance since returning, he was drafted into the starting XI against Tottenham in the FA Cup final and put in a solid display as the left-sided central defender.
Ake, who has been at Chelsea since the age of 16, has shown signs of progression this season and has been named in the Dutch senior squad as he prepares to receive his first international cap.