English Premiership

Chelsea and Man United did well to avoid signing Nathan Ake, reckons Paul Merson

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Nathan Ake (Getty Images)
Nathan Ake (Getty Images)

Paul Merson reckons Chelsea and Manchester United dodged a bullet by not signing new Manchester City defender Nathan Ake.

The Dutchman, 25, signed on the dotted line from Bournemouth for a fee worth £41 million.

Chelsea retained the option to trigger a buy-back clause in Ake's contract after his departure in 2017. However, The Blues opted not to walk that avenue despite apparent defensive frailties.

Likewise, Man Utd had registered their interest, but also chose not to pursue a move.

That left the door ajar for City, but Merson believes Ake is not the right choice to propel them back to the league's summit.

Writing in his column for The Daily Star, the ex-Arsenal legend said: "Nathan Ake going to Manchester City has shocked me.

"Bournemouth got relegated and they let in about a million goals.

"I don't think Ake really stood out as anything special there either. Chelsea had an option to bring him back to Stamford Bridge and never took it, even though they need centre backs.

"That suggests to me they think something is missing in his game. He might not be as good a fit at City as some people think.

"City are not the biggest team in the world. They struggle to defend set pieces at times, and Ake isn't going to help them there.

"You never really saw him trying to get players going or show much leadership at Bournemouth either.

"It was poor organisation at the back that cost them so many points, and that's not only Eddie Howe's fault.

"Defending is City's Achilles heel and until they get that area sorted out, they will struggle to challenge Liverpool.

"They still need another top-drawer centre back."

- TEAMtalk media

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