Chelsea have decided against activating their buyback clause for Nathan Ake, while also ending their interest in his Bournemouth teammate Callum Wilson, it is claimed.
With their transfer ban lifted, Chelsea are beginning to think about potential targets again, and many expected one of their first moves to be completing the return of Ake.
The Dutch defender came through the youth ranks at Chelsea before reaching the fringes of the first team, making a total of 17 appearances for them at senior level.
When he was sold to Bournemouth for £20m in 2017, Chelsea retained the right to have the first option to re-sign him for double that amount – but Sky Sports News back up claims they have passed up on the opportunity and will look elsewhere.
Ake has remained a regular at Bournemouth, but the Cherries are struggling this season and are currently lurching in the relegation zone in 19th place.
Star striker Callum Wilson has failed to score since September, before which he had been another name under consideration at Chelsea, but that interest has since cooled.
The Blues have grown concerned over Wilson’s lack of form, meaning they are more likely to pursue other targets – with strikers on the agenda in the event of Michy Batshuayi or Olivier Giroud leaving.
Both centre-forwards are considering a January exit after falling behind Tammy Abraham in the pecking order at Stamford Bridge, with regular gametime essential for both players’ chances of making their respective squads for Euro 2020.
Giroud has been linked with a move to Inter Milan, and Frank Lampard has opened up on the rumours linking him with an exit.
“With Ollie the situation is, if it’s right for everybody, and first and foremost that’s us as the club, then we’ll look at whether he can leave the club,” he said recently.
“He’s been a great professional here, who has continued to train professionally without many opportunities. But I still have to make a decision for the football club, and nothing’s done yet.
“Everyone’s talking about it so I’m not going to beat around the bush. I think his agent has spoken to the club, but until anything’s done he’s a Chelsea player.”
Aston Villa have made ambitious enquiries of their own for Giroud, as they desperately seek a replacement for Wesley, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season.
Batshuayi has also come under consideration at Villa Park, but has fewer links away than Giroud at present – even with Belgium national team manager Roberto Martinez admitting that the 26-year-old needs to play more regularly if he wants to feature at the European Championships this summer.
As for Bournemouth, Sky Sports add that Eddie Howe has been given a vote of confidence by the club’s owners, despite their run of five games without a win in the Premier League.
Howe admitted after Sunday’s loss to Watford that he had to consider if he was still good enough for the role, but it appears the hierarchy at the Vitality Stadium have convinced him they remain pleased with his work.