In a move which has been rumoured since November, Feyenoord today confirmed that 15 year-old Nathan Aké will join Chelsea next summer.
Leo Beenhakker, Technical Director at the De Kuip side, revealed that Nathan had sealed the move, and indeed, despite interest from elsewhere (most notably Manchester City), he only ever had eyes for the Blues.
In an interview with Algemeen Dagblad, Beenhakker said:
“I talked with Nathan and his parents, but he was very clear. He said ‘Mr Beenhakker, what I have here is fantastic, but I only want to join Chelsea’.
And his parents gave their blessing. I was impressed by a boy who is only fifteen who so clearly knows what he wants.
Whilst everything appears to be in order as far as confirmation goes, it is important to remain slightly cautious, for over the summer Chelsea were heavily linked with another Feyenoord prodigy, midfielder Kyle Ebecilio.
Dutch reports had initially confirmed him as joining the Stamford Bridge outfit, before he actually signed for Arsenal.
However, with no firm competition for his signature, at least not in Aké’s mind, this deal appears to be set.
Feyenoord will receive a total fee of €270,000 for the defender/midfielder, who they initially took from ADO Den Haag’s academy. This will be broken down into three annual payments of €90,000, something Beenhakker bemoans as part of the wider picture:
The English clubs are the big polluters. The rest of Europe keeps quiet but in England they absolutely do not. We are a training country, nothing more, nothing less. So there you have it.
It’s understandably frustrating for him and his club, for this is the fourth such player they have lost in recent times. Jeffrey Bruma came to England in 2007 and was followed last summer by his cousin Ebecilio, whilst in between, French side Caen picked up Rajiv van la Parra.
Arsenal secured Nacer Barazite from NEC Nijmegen in controversial circumstances three years ago, Liverpool have had themselves a clutch of Dutchmen, and only a few months ago Manchester United took Gyliano van Velzen from the Ajax academy.
However, it must be noted that each of these individuals showed a willingness and active desire to move to England, and when that has shown to be the case, the clubs have acted accordingly each step of the way.
So, what do we know about Nathan? A youth international and captain since Under-15 level, he turns 16 in February and will become a scholar next July. A defender by trade with ability to play in midfield, he’s technically very assured, left-footed, and as you can see from this Dutch video, he has a passing resemblance to a younger Ruud Gullit.
As more becomes available on Nathan over the coming months, expect more expansive information on him, but for now, it’s a (hopeful) welcome to Chelsea!