Like a boarding school that kids are forced to attend – yet hate – because their parents believe it shows off their elite status, Chelsea have let free another one of their trapped youngsters.
Nathan Ake has completed a permanent £20million move from Chelsea back to Bournemouth, having spent the first half of last season on loan at the Cherries.
Antonio Conte, for some reason still yet to be worked out, recalled the Dutchman – no doubt kicking and screaming – back to Stamford Bridge, to play a grand total of 98 minutes of Premier League football for the Blues.
Ake’s exit continues the trend of Chelsea’s youngsters realising, very quickly, that the road trodden by John Terry – youth product to club legend – no longer exists; Dominic Solanke and Bertrand Traore have already left this summer, for Liverpool and Lyon, respectively.
“It was time. Considering my age and for my development, it was time for me to leave the club.
“I could have stayed at Chelsea and played a few minutes in every game, fighting every day for a spot, knowing that I’ll never get a spot, I trained at the club, I did everything.
“Two seasons ago, I challenged the starters but we all know what happened last year. I was there during pre-season and then I was sent out on loan.
“So this year, I did not want to re-live the same scenario. It was time for me to find a stable club where I could play first-team football, where I could be one of the key players in the team.”
Eddie Howe tried to bring Nathan Ake straight back in January after Chelsea recalled the centre-back, however, Conte wasn’t keen on freeing the defender, then.
At £20million, Ake breaks Bournemouth’s club record by £5million, and replaces Jordon Ibe as the Cherries most expensive
Howe’s reputation for spending money, when Bournemouth have been able to – which has been quite rare – is poor, at best: Max Gradel, Tyrone Mings, Glenn Murray, Lewis Cook and Lys Mousset, for example.
Will Ake buck the trend?