Manchester City and Chelsea are set to go head-to-head over a deal for Bournemouth star Nathan Ake this summer, as the two Premier League giants look to bolster their defensive options for the coming season.
Ake left the Blues in 2017, and he has since become the lynchpin in Eddie Howe's side. But the 25-year-old is seemingly ready to take the next step in his career, especially with the Cherries slipping into a relegation battle this year.
And according to The Athletic, the Netherlands international is on the radar of both Man City and Chelsea, with the duo remaining long-term admirers of the ever-improving Bournemouth defender. Ake has two years remaining on his current deal at the Vitality Stadium, and all signs are pointing to an exit this summer.
The Citizens, who have struggled for cover at centre-back all season, went to watch Ake before the winter transfer window, and although they opted against a move in January, the former Premier League champions have now stepped up their pursuit.
In fact, the Manchester club is believed to already be in talks with Bournemouth over a possible deal this summer, but they will have to compete with Frank Lampard's Chelsea for the defender's signature.
Some confusion lingers over whether the Blues' buyback option, which was agreed upon his sale in 2017, is still active, but the west Londoners remain firmly part of the conversation for Ake.
But it is Pep Guardiola's side who are seemingly the most interested party, and they'll be watching closely to see if the Cherries manage to avoid relegation at the end of a particularly perilous season.
Should Bournemouth succumb to the drop, then Ake's price tag may fall considerably. But due to his standing in the English game, the likely fee he will command and the squad depth of other potential suitors, a move to either Man City or Chelsea appears to be his only viable alternative.