Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe believes that young Nathan Ake is very close to being recalled to Stamford Bridge by his parent club Chelsea, as reports continue to link the Dutchman with a Vitality Stadium exit.
Howe looked visibly disappointed during the post-match press conference, as third division side Milllwall knocked them out of the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon. The 3-0 defeat at the Den can possibly be down to the number of second-fiddle players that were fielding in the third round tie.
'Not 100% finalised yet'
Ake was previously being linked with a recall to Chelsea by unconfirmed reports, but those reports were proved to be true by Howe, who praised the starlet's contributions to the club during his short stay there.
The Englishman told BBC Radio Solent: "It would be a huge blow to us as he's done so well."
Howe lauded praise on Ake, who has played at centre back for the Cherries, but is capable of playing at multiple positions. He said that it will be 'easier said than done' to acquire a player of his 'stature' during the ongoing winter transfer window, but confirmed that the departure is"not 100% finalised yet".
The former Burnley boss also emphasized on why Chelsea would like to have Ake back among their ranks, stating the fact that 'there aren't too many out there' as a primary reason. He also told that with Ake's imminent exit, Simon Francis' suspension and Marc Pugh's injury, Bournemouth's 'defensive resources are certainly stretched.'
Best Cherries player of the season?
Despite making as few as ten appearances this season, Ake has already been one of the best players of the season for Howe's men, who lie at ninth in the Premier League table right now.
Ake has scored thrice, with two of his goals acting as decisive goals during Bournemouth's wins over Stoke and Liverpool. Before joining the club on loan this past summer though, Ake had made 24 appearances for Watford during a stint at the Vicarage Road last season.