Nathan Ake has the intelligence to succeed at Manchester City despite his diminutive stature, according to Kolo Toure.
City have sealed a £41million deal to bolster their defensive options by bringing in Netherlands international Ake from relegated Bournemouth.
The 25-year-old stands at 5ft 11ins, meaning he is not an obviously dominant presence in the air for an already diminutive City side.
But Toure, who won Premier League titles as a centre-back at City and Arsenal despite himself being under six feet, believes Ake has shown himself to have the skillset to negotiate this disadvantage.
“You have to be really intelligent. You have to anticipate things quicker,” he told Stats Perform News when discussing the demands placed upon shorter central defenders.
“When you want to jump, you have to make sure that you read the ball very well and attack at the right time.
“He’s got that. You can see he’s a very intelligent player, because the difficulty in the Premier League is the long balls. But if you time your jump well, you can win the ball.
“As well, what is crucial is players around you. They have to make sure that the players around you think that you might lose an aerial battle. It won’t be a problem for him.”
One of the players around Ake will be City’s leading centre-back Aymeric Laporte.
Ake’s initial role in Pep Guardiola’s squad is expected to be as an understudy to the ball-playing Frenchman, with moves for Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly or Sevilla’s Diego Carlos also mooted in a defensive overhaul.
The prospect of Ake and Laporte playing alongside each other in a defensive pairing is an unusual one, given both are left-footed, but Toure does not see why it cannot work.
“It’s very unusual to have two left-foot players. But why not if you have two with right feet?” he added. “As long as they are intelligent and can use their right foot as well.
“I can understand the point – when you don’t see something often you always doubt it a little bit. But the boy is a good player.”
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