Bournemouth aim to build on their highest level of the league to eventually do deals worth over £30m combined for two of Chelsea’s title-winning players, Nathan Aké and Asmir Begovic, after the season finished.
The two have been at the margin of Chelsea, with Begovic, 29, acting as Thibaut Courtois is the understudy for two seasons since the arrival of £8m to Stoke City. The Bosnian goalkeeper was close to moving to Bournemouth in January, when a deal has been agreed in principle, subject to Antonio Conte’s side secure an experienced replacement. The inability to do so means the move has been put on the back burner.
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Begovic, who has attracted tentative interest from a number of other top-flight clubs, would cost Bournemouth around £12m and, in the absence of rival bids, the transfer should happen. Yet, the movement for Aké is more complicated. The Dutch defender has spent the first half of the campaign on loan to the Vitality of the Stage and impressed after forcing his way into the side from mid-November, only for his displays at the command prompt Chelsea to remind them of following a 3-3 draw against Arsenal on 3 January.
An investigation has been made by Bournemouth during the 22 years of the availability of the mid-winter transfer deadline approached, with Aké having struggled to break into the first team of his parent club, but Chelsea quickly made clear, they were reluctant to sell. This attitude has not changed despite the player having made only one Premier League start – against Watford on Monday – and one substitute appearance in the top flight in the second half of the season. He did start the FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur with Gary Cahill ruled out through illness.
There are those who, within Chelsea which will need a little persuasion to part with Aké, same with Bournemouth expected to make an opening bid of around £20m next month. The player, as Begovic is eager for more regular football and that he would be ready to move on and might be attracted by a return to the Vitality Stage, having enjoyed his time under Eddie Howe.
Bournemouth finished 16th in their first campaign in the top flight and, despite a poor run mid-season, and better than, this time. After winning three of their last four games, the team which would guarantee a top-half finish with a win at Leicester City on the final Sunday afternoon. However, there is a recognition that they need to improve to maintain their status in a competitive environment of the Premier League, with a number of the summer signings have struggled.