A CLAUSE allowing Chelsea to re-sign Cherries star Nathan Ake is reportedly set to expire in the summer of 2020.

The Dutchman moved to Dorset from the Blues on a permanent £20million deal in June 2017, having also enjoyed a six-month loan spell at Cherries the previous season.

Ake has now featured more than 100 times for Eddie Howe's men, netting 10 goals, including a vital header in victory over Southampton in September.

But his fine form has not gone unnoticed with a host of clubs including Manchester City reportedly interested in making a move for the 24-year-old.

However, former club Chelsea are believed to be in pole position, understood to have inserted a £40million buy-back clause in the deal to sell the Netherlands international to Cherries.

But, as reported in The Athletic, that clause is due to expire next summer, meaning their final chance to utilise the option will be in the forthcoming January window, after the Blues had their transfer ban officially lifted earlier this month.

It is also claimed that "even if another side comes in with a higher offer for the Holland international, Chelsea will have first refusal to recruit him at the price reserved for them alone" and "if any (other team) were to make a move, it could only materialise if Chelsea stood aside or Ake rejected the Blues."

Speaking last week, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard said: "In terms of the back four, the defence that we have I am very happy and again, it wouldn’t be anything I consider until I feel otherwise."

Asked how clever it was from the Blues to insert a buy-back clause for Ake, Lampard added: “I don’t know how clever it is. It is what it is.

“Nathan came through here and when he has gone to Bournemouth to be able to play regular football, I think he has done fantastically well.

“He’s showed himself a really good defender in the Premier League there.”

Ake was absent due to a hamstring injury when Cherries beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to end a run of five straight defeats.

Speaking to Sky Sports last week, Howe said: "It would be obviously my wish to try to hold on to everybody but some of these things are out of our control.

"We will wait and see. I don't want to give you evasive answers but I am in no control of that at the moment.”

He added: "A lot of things with transfers - trying to bring players in, trying to keep the squad we have is out of my hands.

"Obviously, we will be doing our best to be as strong as we can into the second half of the season."