NEWS: Chelsea must regret selling “exceptional” ace for £20m, he’s now worth more than James

Chelsea must regret selling £20m gem who’s now worth more than JamesThe talented Premier League star was barely given a chance at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea might just be the most challenging team to predict in the entire Premier League this season.

One week they’ll concede four goals in back-to-back matches, only to go and win 3-1 away from home in back-to-back matches the following week.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side are consistently inconsistent this year, and while that is partly down to an attack that cycles between being electric and stunted, it’s also not helped by a defence that ranks as the ninth-worst in the league.


What must make it even more frustrating for the fans is that a defender they sold and passed on re-signing would surely improve their current backline, and he\’s now considered more valuable than club captain Reece James.

The player in question is none other than treble-winner and Dutch international, Nathan Ake.

The 28-year-old was a Chelsea player between July 2011, when he signed from Feyenoord as a youth prospect, to July 2017, when he left to join Bournemouth in a permanent deal worth around £20m.

During his time as a senior Blues player, the Den Haag-born defender made just 17 appearances for the club and spent the vast majority of his time on loan with Reading, Watford and the Cherries.

He did make 40 appearances for the U21 side, but for whatever reason, Rafael Benitez, José Mourinho, Guus Hiddink and Antonio Conte just didn\’t rate the versatile defender during his time as a senior pro, and so, at 22 years old, he left the club for good.


With Ake being the Cherries’ club record signing at the time, it didn’t take long for him to establish himself as one of their most important players and first names on the teamsheet.

In his three seasons as an out-and-out Bournemouth player, he made 109 appearances across all competitions, scored eight goals and provided six assists. While he primarily played as a centre-back, he occasionally moved into the full-back areas, which was a sign of things to come for the talented defender.

When the south coast side were relegated at the end of the 2019/20 season, it looked as if the 5 ft 11 defender could be heading back to Stamford Bridge, but then-manager Frank Lampard opted against activating the buyback clause, believing that the Dutchman was not an upgrade on their defenders at the time.

Up stepped Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola’s side paid the Cherries a whopping £41m for Ake’s services, and while some might\’ve questioned the wisdom of spending so much money on a defender who was recently relegated at the time, you\’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t think it was a successful signing today.

In all, the “exceptional” former Chelsea man, as he was described by Guardiola, has played 112 games for the Cityzens. While he played a bit part role in the first couple of campaigns, he has since become an integral part of the squad, making 41 appearances last season as the club won the treble. He\’s already made 31 this season as they fight to do it again.

This unbelievable run of form with the blue side of Manchester has seen his value increase considerably, with the CIES Football Observatory valuing him at around €60m, which is about £51m, or £31m more than Chelsea sold him for in 2017.This valuation means that in the current market, Ake is worth more than the Pensioners’ captain, James, who CIES value at just €40m, or about £34m, which is likely down to his lengthy and repetitive injury problems, something that Ake hasn’t dealt with in his career to anywhere near the same extent.

Ultimately, the valuation of a player isn\’t necessarily a true reflection of what a team would be willing to pay for them, but it’s clear that the sale of Ake and subsequent refusal to re-sign him are some of Chelsea\’s biggest recent mistakes in the transfer market, as a player of his composure and experience would surely slot right into and improve their current team.