Tottenham Hotspur may be gifted the perfect opportunity to bolster a key area of weakness this summer, according to emerging reports…
What’s the word?
The Daily Star claimed that Manchester City could offer defender Nathan Ake as a makeweight in their attempts to bring Harry Kane to the Etihad Stadium.
Citizens striker Gabriel Jesus is also being considered in this regard but Pep Guardiola may be reluctant to lose the Brazil international, so they may prefer to offer the former Bournemouth defender plus cash for the England talisman.
The 26-year-old Dutchman is currently valued at just €30m (£26m) by CIES Football Observatory, so you would imagine that the Premier League champions would need to offer a substantial wedge of cash to tempt Spurs into a sale, especially as they are looking at around £150m for Kane’s signature, as per The Telegraph.
As reported by The Athletic earlier in the season, one of Spurs’ biggest problems has been in defence, where a lack of cohesion and an abundance of individual mistakes have been the worrying and defining themes of their dismal campaign.
Last summer, the club let Jan Vertonghen depart for nothing after seven years in north London, but Daniel Levy and the club’s hierarchy failed to provide Jose Mourinho with a viable successor.
He did manage to sign Joe Rodon before the domestic deadline for £11m, and whilst he has performed decently whenever given a rare opportunity, he is no Vertonghen. The 6 foot 2 Belgian could play in the middle and at left-back, whilst his vast experience and leadership in the Premier League was a valuable asset which has clearly been missed by Spurs this season.
Alasdair Gold at football.london believes that the side have lacked a leader at the back, which is why they are said to be searching for one as a top priority this summer.
Interestingly, the Dutch centre-back can also play on the left – just like Vertonghen – and that makes him an appealing candidate for Tottenham in the summer, especially as Ben Davies had a spell on the sidelines towards the end of the campaign through injury.
Ake has earned the praise of one of the Premier League’s best, too. Speaking to the Bournemouth Daily Echo in March 2020, Liverpool colossus Virgil van Dijk waxed lyrical about his fellow countryman.
The Netherlands captain gushed: “First of all, he’s a fantastic guy. I speak with him quite a bit at the national team and I think he’s a fantastic player as well,” revealed the Dutch international before adding: “He has the quality but he has to have more than just the quality these days. But he’s still young, he’s improving and you never know what decision might happen.”
This merely echoes the words from his former teammate and Bournemouth captain Steve Cook, who lauded the 5 foot 11 defender as an “amazing player” and an “even better person” following the confirmation of his move to City.
Ake was one of the few bright sparks during the Cherries’ relegation campaign last year, during which Spurs saw first-hand the qualities he possesses.
The 26-year-old captained the side to a clean sheet back in July 2020 despite Jose Mourinho having the services of Harry Kane. That afternoon, Ake silenced the England talisman and even recorded a better rating (7.3) than him (6.6), as per SofaScore. He also put in three blocks to deny Kane, made one interception and registered five clearances.
Levy could do very little wrong in bringing Ake to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this summer, even if it means sending their star striker in the opposite direction.
At the very least, they’d be getting an immediate fix to the defensive problems, along with a likely abundance of cash to fund a rebuild elsewhere in the squad.