By Toby Foster (@TobyFost)
Nathan Ake has joined Manchester City after AFC Bournemouth accepted a £40m bid for the defender.
The 25-year-old Dutchman has agreed a five-year contract at Pep Guardiola’s side, who saw off interest from a clutch of Premier League clubs to obtain Ake’s signature.
“Coming here is a dream for me,” Ake told Manchester City’s official website.
“City have been the best side in England over the course of the last decade.
“I know I’m going to have to work hard to get into the side, but that’s what I’m here to do. I’ll do whatever I can to make an impact and help the team win silverware.”
Nathan Ake for Bournemouth in the Premier League since signing for the club in 2017/18:
❍ Most games (105
❍ Most clearances (606)
❍ Most tackles (150)
❍ Second-most possession won (500)
❍ Second-most aerials won (255)
❍ Second-most interceptions (115)
A new club awaits. pic.twitter.com/wf3FL7aoDY
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 30, 2020
The centre-back also issued a fond farewell to Bournemouth fans in an Instagram post.
Ake said: “I want to thank everybody involved with the club for everything over the past years! I’ve had a fantastic few years playing at Dean Court learning so much and creating some amazing memories!
“Thank you to all the staff and players who made me feel welcome from the first minute. Because of you I am now able to make this next step.
“Lastly I would like to thank all the fans who’ve been amazing to me from the minute I arrived. Unfortunately we couldn’t bring this to a good end but I am sure we will see each other again in the future!”
Ake becomes the latest in a long line of big-money defensive signings made by Pep Guardiola’s side in recent years, which have included Aymeric Laporte, John Stones, Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy.
The signing is a record fee paid to a Championship side for a player.
Ake joined Bournemouth for a club-record fee of £20m in 2017 from Chelsea, and made 121 appearances in three seasons for the Cherries, scoring 11 goals.
Nathan Aké made zero errors leading directly to a goal in 117 Premier League games for Bournemouth.
— BT Sport Score (@btsportscore) July 30, 2020
By Toby Foster
Nathan Ake’s eye-catching performances in the heart of the Cherries’ defence have ensured that his departure to one of the ‘Big Six’ clubs was in the offing for many months.
During a long, hard season where points for the Cherries proved hard to come by, Ake stood out as a diamond in the rough – an influential defensive powerhouse whose aerial prowess, leadership, athleticism and sheer toughness earmarked him as a cut above most of his Bournemouth teammates.
Sunday’s crushing relegation to the second tier of English football made the Dutchman’s Cherries exit almost an inevitability. This is a player whose talents would, to put it bluntly, be wasted outside the Premier League.
And with the Bournemouth facing a financial recalibration after dropping into the Championship, Ake’s generous reported transfer fee will go a long way.
The jury is perhaps still out on whether the 25-year-old possesses the ability required to succeed at European level – but after three tremendous years on the South Coast, he more than deserves the chance to prove himself alongside and against the world’s best.