Cape Town - Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says he could recall Nathan Ake from his loan spell at Bournemouth after being impressed by the defender's recent performances for the club.
The 21-year-old, who has spent the previous past two seasons away from the Blues, on loan with Reading and Watford, has been a regular starter for Cherries boss Eddie Howe since November.
And with Chelsea looking to strengthen during the current transfer window, Conte has revealed he is considering bringing back the talented Dutchman, who has scored three goals this season.
Conte said: "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.
"Honestly, I'm evaluating his situation, because Ake could be an interesting opportunity in this window, yes, for us."
Howe is naturally eager to keep the player, having taken him on a season-long loan last June, and with a couple of injuries to contend with.
He told BBC Radio Solent: "It would be a huge blow to us as he's done so well.
"It is easier said than to done to say we are going to go and recruit a player of a similar stature to Nathan.
"I am not sure there are too many out there, hence why Chelsea would recall him.
"With Simon Francis's suspension and Marc Pugh's injury and now Nathan going back, our defensive resources are certainly stretched."