MX23RW : Thursday, January 31 22:32:58

Eddie Howe heaps praise on defender Nathan Ake amid transfer talk

Eddie Howe heaps praise on defender Nathan Ake amid transfer talk
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The Holland international has been linked with a return to Chelsea.

Eddie Howe says Bournemouth have "had no contact from any other club" as he dismissed rumours of a potential departure for key defender Nathan Ake.

Centre-back Ake, who cost £20million from Chelsea in 2017, has been linked with a return to Stamford Bridge before Thursday's transfer deadline.

But, ahead of Wednesday's Premier League clash with Maurizio Sarri's Blues, Cherries manager Howe insists he has no concerns about the future of the Holland international.

"We love working with him, we think he's got outstanding attributes, he's getting better and better in his position," Howe said of Ake.

"The speculation, as it has been all January, has been purely that – as with all our players.

"We've had not contact from any other club so it's business as usual."

Bournemouth bought central defender Chris Mepham for £12million from Brentford last week, helping to fuel talk of an impending move for Ake.

Wales international Mepham became the third January arrival at the Vitality Stadium after the Cherries signed England internationals Nathaniel Clyne and Dominic Solanke from Liverpool.

Howe, who has been linked with a late move for out-of-favour Chelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater, did not rule out strengthening his squad further before the window closes, while he revealed defender Tyrone Mings could leave on loan.

"We hope the majority of our business is done, if not all of it," added Howe.

"We are very pleased with the business we have done this window, but there's one game to go so you can never say with any certainty what's going to happen.

"I have learnt a long time ago never to give clear-cut answers in this situation because you can then have to act in the last few hours."

Speaking about a temporary switch for Mings, Howe added: "That's a possible. Tyrone has been dreadfully unlucky since he signed for the football club. He's such a talented lad, he's desperate to play so we'll wait and see."

Cherries top-scorer Callum Wilson, himself the subject of transfer speculation this month, went off injured after scoring in the win over West Ham on January 19.

The 11-goal striker faces a late fitness test for the visit of Chelsea due to a knee issue.

"Callum's going to be a doubt for the game," said Howe. "It's a knee problem, but we are going to wait and see. We are going to give him all the time he needs to try and get fit for this game."

Bournemouth had a change behind the scenes on Monday when Russian businessman Maxim Demin's company took full ownership of the club.

Demin's AFCB Enterprises Ltd acquired Chicago-based Peak6 Investments' 25 per cent stake in the Cherries.

Howe described the development as "very good news".

"I think for me, it just means the communication lines become slightly different. To have just one point of contact is helpful," said Howe.

"The club has been run superbly well for a long period of time, Max has been a massive, massive part of that.

"What he's done for the football club has been incredible, so to have him back as sole owner is very good news."


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Chris Mepham in action for Brentford on August 22, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool24194155144161
2Manchester CityMan City24182463194456
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs24180650242654
4Arsenal24145550331747
5Chelsea24145540231747
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd24136548351345
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2410593031-135
8Everton249693533233
9Watford249693334-133
10Bournemouth24103113742-533
11Leicester CityLeicester2495103030032
12West Ham UnitedWest Ham2494113037-731
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2475122736-926
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2466122132-1124
15Crystal Palace2465132433-923
16Southampton2458112641-1523
17Burnley2465132545-2023
18Cardiff CityCardiff2454152046-2619
19Fulham2445152553-2817
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2425171341-2811

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