Pep Guardiola apparently persuaded Nathan Ake to remain at Manchester City instead of re-signing for Chelsea in the summer.
According to The Telegraph, Guardiola verified his faith in the Ake by ensuring the defender he wanted him to stay at the Etihad rather than returning to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea reportedly attempted to sign the centre-back they sold to Bournemouth in 2017 ahead of the current campaign.
Thomas Tuchel was in desperate need of adding to his defensive line, and seemingly identified the Dutch international as a desirable option.
Particularly as the player knew Cobham well, having been in and around the project for over half a decade.
The deal eventually collapsed, due to Todd Boehly’s unwillingness to meet City’s £45m valuation of Ake.
Guardiola’s employers were actually only asking for £4m more than what they paid for the 27-year-old’s services in 2020.
Instead, Chelsea splashed the cash on Kalidou Koulibaly, who hasn’t yet lived up to expectations.
Ake wards off Chelsea
Ake may have announced his pleasure at staying put in Manchester, but perhaps there is still a part of him that wished the transfer materialised.
He still hasn’t secured a regular starting role under Guardiola, something he suffered throughout his time as a Blue.
Manuel Akanji’s arrival from Borussia Dortmund in September added further competition to a position already well covered.
John Stones, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones have also been battling between themselves for the central defensive duty.
Amongst the expensive ensemble is Ake, who is arguably now the fifth-choice in that particular area of the field.
Yet, he has generally performed well whenever called upon by Guardiola, displays that ensured him a spot at the World Cup.
Ake actually faces off against Koulibaly’s Senegal on Monday, a battle of Chelsea’s past and present.