Saturday, August 13, 2022

Manchester City Have Shortlisted Chelsea Target As Ake’s Replacement: Smart From The Skyblues?

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Pratyay Maitra
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Chelsea have plotted a double raid on Manchester City by roping in Raheem Sterling and Nathan Ake. The Skyblues are assessing whether to replace their Dutch defender and according to The Daily Telegraph’s Mike McGrath, they have shortlisted a few names including the long-term Blues target Jules Kounde over a potential summer transfer.

Ake began his senior career at Chelsea after spending his youth stints with ADO Den Haag and Feyenoord. But he failed to secure a regular status despite impressing on loan at Reading, Watford and Bournemouth. The Cherries roped him on permanent terms where he featured week in week out before being relegated a couple of years back. Although the Citizens tied him down in the summer of 2020, the Netherlands international remained as the fourth-choice centre-half behind Aymeric Laporte, Ruben Dias and John Stones.

Manchester City target Jules Kounde
Sevilla’s French defender Jules Kounde (R) controls the ball next to Atletico Madrid’s Belgian midfielder Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco during the Spanish league football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Sevilla FC at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on May 15, 2022. (Photo by Jose Jordan / AFP) (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images) The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/)

In the wake of Ake’s potential Chelsea return, Manchester City must maintain the depth as well as quality in deep defence. Despite Premier League supremacy, Pep Guardiola has failed to conquer the coveted Champions League crown and the in-demand Frenchman has been identified to restore the balance along with Pau Torres and Joško Gvardiol.

Why Manchester City Should Pursue The Transfer

The 21-year-old Les Bleus international joined Sevilla in 2019 after a promising spell at Bordeaux. He soon grabbed the attention of many European hotshots including Chelsea and Barcelona. City have now joined the race and their financial firepower makes them favourites in any transfer chase. Kounde is not the tallest of defenders, but his sense of positioning, passing game and agility tick many boxes to fit Guardiola’s playing style.

The French centre-back slots in well in a three-man backline. Also, he has featured as a makeshift right fullback which highlights his versatility in the defensive third. Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo are there already in the squad, but the manager has often deployed the latter down the left in the absence of an outright left fullback. They are also chasing the signing of Brighton & Hove Albion’s Marc Cucurella, but the future looks uncertain for Oleksandr Zinczenko who has often deputized on the wide under Guardiola. Kounde has a bright career road ahead of him and his attributes should help him secure a key role eventually.

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