Pundit urges Man City to make specific Nathan Ake transfer decision, with Liverpool factor looming large

Nathan Ake training for Manchester City

Former striker Gabby Agbonlahor believes Manchester City need to hold onto their squad players, including Nathan Ake, if they are to win more trophies next season.

Chelsea were hoping to re-sign Ake this summer to bolster their centre-back options. The two English giants were in talks over a £45million move.

Had it gone through, then it would have seen Ake go back to Stamford Bridge five years after leaving. The Dutchman spent time in the Chelsea academy and made 17 outings for their first team before swapping the Blues for Bournemouth.

However, his return fell through last week. Chelsea wanted Manchester City to come down from their £45m asking price. But the Premier League champions were unwilling to do this, leading to the move faltering.

Chelsea have already brought in Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli. And their second centre-half addition looks set to be Jules Kounde of Sevilla.

Agbonlahor has reiterated City’s need to hold on to players such as Ake. They are integral for Pep Guardiola as they allow him to rest his regular starters in cup matches, keeping the top stars fresh for league games.

This will be especially important next season if the Citizens are to hold off Liverpool and gain another Prem title. Plus, City will once again pursue their ultimate goal of winning the Champions League.

During an interview with Football Insider, Agbonlahor said: “You can’t sell your squad players.

Man City need Nathan Ake – Agbonlahor

“You look at [Ruben] Dias and [Aymeric] Laporte as your first choice then you’ve got [John] Stones and Ake as your second choice. You need four defenders with so many competitions, injuries and suspensions.

“I’m sure Pep would not want to leave himself with just three centre-halves.”

City have a strong backline and will not want to weaken it before next season starts. This is probably why they wouldn’t negotiate with Chelsea about Ake’s price tag.

City have agreed to sell Oleksandr Zinchenko to Arsenal. But clearly Guardiola is happy to let the versatile star go as he has other options. Plus, the Manchester outfit want to land Marc Cucurella as his successor.

Ake doesn’t play in that many big matches as Dias and Laporte are generally Guardiola’s first-choice centre-back pairing.

But he remains an important cog in the City wheel and selling him to Chelsea, a potential title rival, would have been a bad move.

Meanwhile, a former player has given his verdict on the circumstances which would see Bukayo Saka leave Arsenal for City.