An update has emerged regarding Newcastle United‘s pursuit of Nathan Ake heading into the upcoming summer transfer window…
What’s the talk?
According to talkSPORT, the Netherlands international is one of the centre-backs on the Tyneside club’s radar as Dan Ashworth plots his first deals as the Magpies’ new sporting director.
The report claims that the 27-year-old has been told that he is free to leave Manchester City ahead of the 2022/23 campaign, although it remains to be seen whether it will be on a loan or permanent basis.
Eddie Howe needs him badly
A deal for the defender will surely delight Toon manager Eddie Howe, as he badly needs Ake at St James’ Park heading into next season.
The Dutchman is a progressive defender who can help the Magpies to evolve their style into a dominant, possession-based system.
As per FBRef, Ake ranks in the 93rd percentile or higher for progressive carries, passes attempted, pass success rate, non-penalty expected goals + expected assists and non-penalty goals per 90 in his position across Europe’s top five leagues in the last 365 days.
Meanwhile, Dan Burn does not rank higher than the 58th percentile in any of those statistics and Fabian Schar ranks in the 45th percentile or lower in carries, passes completed and pass success rate. Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles sits in 54th percentile or lower in all of the aforementioned categories.
This suggests that Ake can be the centre-back that Howe needs in order to deploy a possession-based style of play, as the Dutchman has the ability on the ball to progress attacks out from the back.
The Citizens’ director of football Txiki Begiristain previously praised the 27-year-old, saying: “Nathan is a quality defender. He was a leader during his time at Bournemouth, and I am so pleased we’ve managed to bring him here. He’s strong and quick, and we feel he has the technical and intellectual attributes needed to excel in Pep’s setup.”
He has also been dubbed “underrated” by his fellow countryman and Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk, with these comments highlighting how much he is valued within the footballing community.
Signed from Bournemouth for £41m, Ake has played in nine Premier League seasons by the age of 27 and averaged an excellent SofaScore rating of 7.08 in the 2021/22 campaign for Man City. He won 66% of his duels, including a whopping 73% in the air, as he showcased his ability to defend strongly as well as progress the ball.
Ashworth must now get a deal for the defender over the line, as Ake could be a vital cog in Howe’s system at Newcastle next season.