HomePremier LeagueNathan Ake is doing Man City a huge favour...

Nathan Ake is doing Man City a huge favour ahead of the transfer window

Nathan Ake is doing Man City a huge favour ahead of the transfer window

Nathan Ake is by far the most improved player for Manchester City this season, and it couldn’t have happened at a better moment.

Due to Pep Guardiola’s unique and intricate methods, it is commonly believed that strikers need at least a year after joining City to reach their full ability, and perhaps the same is true for defenders. After all, playing fullback is likely the most challenging position on the team.

Since his signing from Bournemouth two years ago, many have questioned Ake’s abilities and wondered why City paid so much money on a guy who was just a versatile backup. The critics, though, have been proven wrong this season.

Not only was he the first-choice centre-back for the first half of the season, but he is performing even better currently at left-back or in the space between the two positions in a back three. Guardiola said that City now misses him when he is not on the field, before ironically benching him for the next match.

He is currently one of the first names on the teamsheet for the biggest games, regardless of his position, because he has frequently kept the greatest players from the top clubs quiet. He’s simply superb at regaining possession of the ball.

In three decisive triumphs, he defeated Mohamed Salah and neutralized the threat posed by Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech, Tottenham’s Dejan Kulusevski, and Arsenal’s standout player Bukayo Saka. Not to mention the FA Cup-winning goal he scored against the Gunners.

The Dutchman’s good form has continued for his national team, as he scored twice in this week’s triumph over Gibraltar and created 16(!) chances. It may have only been against a minor opponent, but it demonstrates how confident he is and how much he has improved under Guardiola’s tutelage.

The left-back position has once again proven a problem for City this season. There has been a blind spot there for years, and the Blues have resorted to numerous improvised fixes. Over the years, players such as Ake, Fabian Delph, Aleks Zinchenko, Aymeric Laporte, Joao Cancelo, Rico Lewis, Danilo, Sergio Gomez, and even Bernardo Silva have played there.

Cancelo’s brilliant run at left-back appeared to have fixed the issue, but in January, his anger over a lack of playing time boiled out and he was loaned to Bayern Munich.

Given that Zinchenko was gone in the summer and City failed to adequately replace him, they were left with frighteningly few options. Gomez is not ready, which is hardly surprising given that he was originally scheduled to return on loan. There is no use for Bernardo’s abilities, and Lewis is still too immature to be relied upon.

If not for Ake, City could be in serious trouble, and while Erling Haaland’s goals will garner most of the attention, he will have played a significant role in any trophy won in May.

Strangely, his performance on the left has been so impressive that it may convince City to delay purchasing a dedicated left-back this summer. Especially considering Cancelo’s potential return. Given that midfield must be the emphasis, it would be beneficial to not have to prioritize another position.

Ilkay Gundogan, who has yet to renew his contract, and Bernardo, who has desired to relocate to continental Europe for years, are at risk of leaving City. Even if only one of them left, it would be a devastating loss, and it would be difficult to replace them.

Gundogan is 32 years old and Kevin De Bruyne will be 31 years old before the next season begins, so new blood is still required. A significant signing is required, and there are few bigger than Jude Bellingham.

Nonetheless, there will be a tough competition for the youthful prodigy, as clubs from around Europe will be interested, and the transaction might cost up to £150 million. If City can devote all of their attention and resources to Bellingham, their chances of signing him will increase.

So Ake is not only helping the team on the field, but also off it.

Nathan Ake is doing Man City a huge favour ahead of the transfer window

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