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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Chelsea recall Nathan Ake early from loan spell at Bournemouth

Chelsea have decided to recall Nathan Ake from his loan spell at Bournemouth.

Ake, 21, was deemed surplus to first-team requirements at Chelsea by Antonio Conte in the summer and sent on a season-long loan to the Vitality Stadium, breaking into Eddie Howe's starting XI in recent weeks and producing a series of impressive performances.

However, Chelsea's switch to a 3-4-3 formation has underlined the need for another natural left footer in the squad to compete with Marcos Alonso at wing-back as well as provide additional cover in the centre, and so the Blues have opted to take advantage of the recall clause that was inserted into the deal that took Ake to Bournemouth.

"Nathan Ake has been recalled from his loan spell at Bournemouth," a Chelsea statement read.

"The 21-year-old Dutchman made 12 appearances for the Cherries and scored three goals, including a last-minute winner against Liverpool in December."

Conte said at a news conference on Friday that he was thinking about recalling Ake, who spent last season on loan at Watford.

"Ake is a really good player and now in the last five games he's started to play with Bournemouth and is playing every game," Conte said. "Honestly, I'm evaluating his situation, because Ake could be an interesting opportunity in this window, yes, for us."

Ake's return may lessen Chelsea's need to bring in defensive reinforcements in January, and Conte revealed on Friday that Kurt Zouma's imminent return after an 11-month absence due to injury means he is unlikely to sign a central defender this month.

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