Chelsea will make a move to re-sign Nathan Ake if Frank Lampard decides he needs a replacement for David Luiz once the club’s transfer ban ends.
And the Blues can sign Ake for around £40million, which is £35m less than Bournemouth were quoting for the Holland international at the end of this summer’s transfer window.
Luiz completed an £8m transfer deadline day move to Arsenal, leaving head coach Lampard with four central defenders to choose from this season.
One of those, Fikayo Tomori, had been due to go out on loan but will now be part of Lampard’s senior squad and is in line to earn a new contract.
Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen will start the season as Lampard’s defensive partnership against Manchester United on Sunday, with Antonio Rudiger working his way back to fitness.
Christensen appeared to take a swipe at Luiz, following the Brazilian’s exit, posting a picture of himself with the 32-year-old on social media, with the message ‘no player is bigger than the club’.
Lampard will spend at least the first half of the season assessing his options and deciding whether or not Luiz needs to be replaced.
Chelsea have now served the first of their two-window transfer ban and still have an appeal lodged with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which could still see the second wiped out.
That means Chelsea could move for Ake in either January or next summer if Lampard decides he needs extra cover.
Ake counts as a home-grown player, having joined Chelsea as a 16-year-old from Feyenoord. He spent five years at Stamford Bridge before joining Bournemouth permanently for £20m two years ago.
As part of that deal, Chelsea secured an agreement that they could re-sign Ake for £40m should the player be open to a return.
Following Harry Maguire’s £85m move to Manchester United from Leicester City, Bournemouth put a £75m valuation on Ake to stop Leicester making a late move for the 24-year-old.
That means £40m would represent a bargain for Chelsea, who are also monitoring Wilfried Zaha’s situation after he missed out on a move away from Crystal Palace.
Zaha handed in a transfer request to try to force a move to Arsenal or Everton, but, as previously reported by Telegraph Sport, Chelsea will consider making a bid of their own once they can sign players again.