Tottenham and Manchester United will have to wait to see whether they have a chance to sign Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake, with Chelsea holding the key to the youngster's future.
Ake came out this week to deny reports that he has agreed a deal to move to Tottenham in January, and the Telegraph report that any deal for the versatile Dutch defender could rely on Chelsea's tacit approval.
Congratulations on an amazing career! Thank you for everything you’ve done for me over the years! Always tried to help me and make me a better player. Goodluck in whatever is next pic.twitter.com/kCpKh7ot9H— Nathan Aké (@NathanAke) October 7, 2018
The newspaper reports that the Blues negotiated a 'gentleman's agreement' with Bournemouth which would allow them to re-sign Ake for around £40m, having sold him to the Cherries for £20m in the summer of 2017.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is likely to regenerate his defensive line to an extent over the next year, with Gary Cahill and Andreas Christensen both in danger of being forced out the door, while David Luiz's contract expires in the coming summer.
With the transfer market forcing values up and up, the opportunity to secure the future of a promising defender for a fixed fee may be too tempting for the Blues to refuse – although any transfer would need Ake to choose west London as his preferred destination.
"At the moment," Ake remarked while on international duty, "I play everything at Bournemouth and that goes well, so I focus on that. If I’ve already signed in London? No, certainly not. This does not say much about my status yet, they are rumours that come on the internet and as long as I do not hear anything myself, I will not go into that."