Black Stars defender Baba Rahman nears Chelsea
Ghana defender Baba Rahman may not return to Chelsea after his loan spell with Schalke following the decision of Antonio conte to hand his squad number to academy graduate Nathan Ake.
Ake, 21, was recently recalled by Conte from a loan spell at Bournemouth to act as cover for first choice left wing-back Marcos Alonso.
The Dutchman greatly impressed during his six months away and is expected to provide competition for the Spaniard Alonso.
The youngster has only made 12 first-team appearances for the Blues to date, travelled with Conte’s squad for their 3-0 win over Leicester but was not even named among Chelsea’s substitutes at the King Power Stadium.
Ake has been assigned Rahman’s old squad number following his recall, according to Chelsea’s official website, for the remainder of the 2016/17 campaign.
The number 6 shirt was worn by Baba Rahman last season but the Ghanaian full-back is currently on loan at Schalke.
Down the years, some Chelsea legends have worn Chelsea’s number 6 jersey. Baba Rahman and Oriol Romeu have been the last two incumbents, but two world-class centre-backs – Ricardo Carvalho and Marcel Desailly – wore it before that.
Giving Ake such a prestigious squad number may suggest that Blues manager Antonio Conte is prepared to make him a key figure at the club.
Conversely, Conte’s decision to give Baba’s number to another player seems to hint that the Ghana international may have played his final game for Chelsea.
Baba Rahman, 22, is on loan at Schalke until the end of the season, after signing for a fee of £14 million, potentially rising to £22 million in 2015.
He has played in six Champions League games and 13 Bundesliga matches so far during his Schalke career.