Virgil van Dijk has hailed Nathan Ake and insists that the Bournemouth defender has what it takes to play at the highest level.
Ake joined Bournemouth from Chelsea a few summers back and his impressive showings for the Cherries has seen him linked with a move to a bigger side.
Arsenal and Chelsea remain interested in the player and a summer move is being muted. Both sides are looking to strengthen at the back and Ake would suit both sides.
Mikel Arteta has inherited a poor Arsenal defence and he has managed to get the best out of the defenders at his disposal.
However, a summer rebuild is expected and Ake remains one of the players who could yet end up at the Emirates.
The Dutch defender’s quality has been questioned because of Bournemouth’s poor run of form this season. But Van Dijk has backed him to play at the highest level without any fuzz.
“First of all, he’s a fantastic guy,” he told the Daily Echo.
“I speak with him quite a bit at the national team and I think he’s a fantastic player as well.
“On Saturday he showed with clearances and I think he stepped up when he had the armband as well. It’s just good to see that he’s improving.
“I don’t know what might happen with him in the future with Bournemouth. You just have to stay grounded – but I am not worried about that at all.
“He has the quality but he has to have more than just the quality these days. But he’s still young, he’s improving and you never know what decision might happen.
“It’s all dependent on how the season will end for Bournemouth, too – but I am very positive about him. He’s a fantastic guy and player as well.”
Arsenal will be hoping that they can convince Ake to join them instead of returning to Chelsea.