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
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.