Aston Villa have been handed a boost in their pursuit of one mooted transfer target this week…
Earlier in the month, the Midlands outfit were linked with a move for Manchester City centre-back Nathan Ake, with 90min (via Caught Offside) claiming that Villa were among several top-flight teams interested in a move.
It now appears as if they have been given the green light to secure his signature.
One of Steven Gerrard’s biggest issues at Villa Park last season was in his backline, having inherited the squad from Dean Smith back in November. He managed to steer them away from the relegation zone to finish in 14th place but he’ll be wanting more this season.
The former Rangers boss has already taken steps to improve defensively, signing quite the coup in Diego Carlos from Sevilla. However, just the one addition may not be enough when you consider the fact that both Ezri Konsa and Kourtney Hause are currently injured.
Villa have been linked to several centre-backs in recent weeks, including Liverpool star Joe Gomez but reports suggest that he is set to sign a new contract at Anfield, leaving him an unlikely option for the club.
Ake, though, is evidently available and could be an interesting solution.
“Nathan is a quality defender,” claimed Citizens director of football Txiki Begiristain upon signing him.
“He was a leader during his time at Bournemouth, and I am so pleased we’ve managed to bring him here. He’s strong and quick, and we feel he has the technical and intellectual attributes needed to excel in Pep’s setup.”
Indeed, over the course of his career, the Netherlands international has proven to be a very reliable colossus at the back – as per WhoScored, he’s won an average of 2.1 aerial duels, 1.6 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per game, whilst also excelling with the ball at his feet, managing an 84.8% passing accuracy.
Meanwhile, statistical website FBref liken him most to some proven Premier League options, such as Joel Matip, Harry Maguire, Ruben Dias and John Stones.
Also lauded for being an “amazing player” by former Cherries teammate Steve Cook, it’s clear that Ake would add a lot to Gerrard’s defence heading into the 2022/23 campaign.
Now that sporting director Johan Lange has been given the green light to make his move, it would be silly not to. His current market valuation of £25m by CIES Football Observatory surely makes him an affordable option indeed.
AND in other news, Villa could find their next Coutinho as NSWE plot offer for £175k-p/w “maverick”…