Chelsea could still have the chance to re-sign Nathan Aké from Bournemouth for a fixed £40m transfer fee at the end of the season, as the first refusal buy-back clause that was thought to have expired after January reportedly remains active.

Chelsea were limited by a transfer ban last summer and failed to do any business during the winter transfer window, making the end of the season crucial for manager Frank Lampard.

Chelsea are expected to target a number of players all over the pitch to complement the existing talent in the squad. The centre of defence is a major part of that and The Sun now claims that Chelsea have not lost the opportunity to buy Aké for £40m, contrary to what was believed.

Aké, who turns 25 this month, has also been linked with Tottenham as part of a planned defensive overhaul in north London as well – although Ruben Dias is thought to be their preferred target.

Whether Chelsea actually want to bring Ake back to Stamford Bridge after selling him to Bournemouth on a permanent deal in 2017 remains to be seen, however.

A report from the Evening Standard in the middle of the January transfer window explained that Chelsea had cooled their interest in Aké after extensively scouting him since the start of the season and raising concerns over his suitability for Lampard’s system, which utilises a high line.

Nathan Aké

It was said at that time that Chelsea were actively exploring alternative options, a move that was billed as ‘further evidence’ of the club’s ‘uncertainty over Aké’s ability’.

90min also revealed in January that Lampard has growing influence over transfer strategy and that ties into the concerns regarding Aké’s suitability from a tactical perspective.

Just because they can still sign Ake for a fixed £40m fee, doesn’t mean they actually will.

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