Ake seals £41m City move as Bale is left out by Real

De­fender praises ‘Eng­land’s best’ af­ter Bournemout­h exit Wales for­ward not even in Madrid squad for Eti­had clash

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By James Ducker and Mike McGrath

Nathan Ake com­pleted a £41 mil­lion move to Manch­ester City from Bournemout­h last night as Gareth Bale suf­fered fresh hu­mil­i­a­tion af­ter be­ing omit­ted from Real Madrid’s squad for their Cham­pi­ons League clash at the Eti­had Sta­dium to­mor­row.

Ake has signed a five-year con­tract af­ter pass­ing a med­i­cal yes­ter­day and be­comes City’s sec­ond pur­chase of the sum­mer fol­low­ing Fer­ran Tor­res’s £20.9mil­lion move from Va­len­cia on Tues­day. City moved quickly to se­cure Ake’s ser­vices af­ter Bournemout­h’s rel­e­ga­tion from the Premier League, al­though the club re­main in the mar­ket for a sec­ond cen­tre-half.

“City have been the best side in Eng­land over the last decade,” said Ake, 25, who will also of­fer City cover at left-back and boosts the club’s home-grown quota, de­spite be­ing Dutch. “Com­ing here is a dream for me. This is a top side full of world-class play­ers. Pep [Guardi­ola] is a man­ager ad­mired across the world – what he’s done speaks for it­self. The suc­cess he’s had is un­be­liev­able and the style of foot­ball he plays re­ally ap­peals to me.

“I’m go­ing to have to work hard to get into the side, but that’s what I’m here to do. I’ll do what­ever I can to make an im­pact and help the team win sil­ver­ware.”

City’s strug­gles in cen­tral de­fence af­ter Vin­cent Kom­pany’s de­par­ture last sum­mer were com­pounded by the loss of Aymeric La­porte to in­jury for five months last sea­son, and Txiki Be­giris­tain ex­pects Ake to add lead­er­ship and qual­ity to the back line. His ar­rival raises fresh doubts over the fu­tures of John Stones and Ni­co­las Ota­mendi. “Nathan is a qual­ity de­fender,” City’s di­rec­tor of foot­ball said. “He was a leader dur­ing his time at Bournemout­h. He’s strong and quick, and we feel he has the tech­ni­cal and in­tel­lec­tual at­tributes needed to ex­cel in Pep’s set-up.”

While Ake looks for­ward to the prospect of a bright fu­ture at City, the same can­not be said for Bale at Real. In the lat­est sign of his de­te­ri­o­rat­ing re­la­tion­ship with the Real coach, Zine­dine Zi­dane, the Wales for­ward was not named among the 24-man squad due to ar­rive in Manch­ester to­day. The Span­ish cham­pi­ons are bid­ding to over­turn a 2-1 deficit in the sec­ond leg of their last-16 tie against City. There was no place ei­ther for the Colom­bia for­ward James Ro­driguez.

Bale, who scored in Real’s 2014 and 2018 Euro­pean Cup fi­nal tri­umphs and has won the com­pe­ti­tion four times, was left out of the match-day squad on the fi­nal day of the La Liga sea­son and was an un­used sub­sti­tute in the club’s pre­vi­ous six fix­tures. The 31-year-old is not in­jured and trained with Real’s first team yes­ter­day. De­spite fall­ing out of favour un­der Zi­dane, Bale ex­pects to see out the fi­nal two years of his con­tract.

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