Chelsea and Manchester City have reportedly intensified their pursuit of Nathan Ake, who is expected to leave Bournemouth this summer.

According to the reliable David Ornstein of The Athletic, Manchester City have stepped up their efforts to sign Nathan Ake in the summer transfer window. The 25-year-old Dutch defender, who is likely to leave Bournemouth at the end of the season, is the subject of interest from former club Chelsea as well.

Ake has become one of the best defenders in the Premier League since joining Bournemouth. The Dutchman first joined the Cherries on loan from Chelsea in the summer of 2016 before making the move permanent one year later. Over the last three years, the player has been a mainstay at the back for the south coast club.

In fact, Ake has been one of the rare bright spots in a miserable season for Bournemouth, who are mired in the relegation battle in the Premier League. However, after making over 100 appearance for the club, he is now keen on departing Dean Court. The 25-year-old does not have any shortage of suitors either, with Manchester City and Chelsea keen on signing him.

Manchester City look like they are on the cusp of a transitional period after surrendering the Premier League title to Liverpool this season, with the inevitable confirmed after Chelsea beat them 2-1 last week. Defence, in particular, is an area that Pep Guardiola needs to address, with the outgoing Premier League champions sorely lacking reliable centre-backs.

Could Ake soon be on his way to the Etihad? (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
Could Ake soon be on his way out of Bournemout? (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

At present, Guardiola has Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte at his disposal, as far as central defenders are concerned. While Otamendi is on the wrong side of 30 and has lost a step, Stones looks set to leave Manchester City this summer, with a return to Everton mooted.

The Citizens, therefore, need a dependable partner for Laporte, making Ake a viable target. Having said that, Manchester City face stiff competition from Chelsea in the race to sign the 25-year-old from Bournemouth.

Like Manchester City, Chelsea have seen their defence struggle this season, with Frank Lampard struggling to identify the best central defensive partnership. Fikayo Tomori seems to be one for the future, but needs some more time to progress. Kurt Zouma does not seem to be a long-term solution and continues to rotate with Andreas Christensen.

A partner for Antonio Rudiger must be sought, which explains the interest in Ake. For a long time, it has been rumoured that Chelsea have a buyback clause for Ake, but the report claims that there is some confusion about whether such an option inserted into the agreement when Bournemouth signed him in 2017.

Irrespective of that, Chelsea do appear to be interested, although Manchester City are more keen on securing the services of the player, who wants to call time on his spell at Dean Court this summer. What now remains to be seen is where Ake ends up once the curtain falls on this season, with City and Chelsea set to lock horns for him.

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