Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has subtly indicated that he wanted to keep defender Nathan Ake at Stamford Bridge this summer, but had reiterated that the final decision on such matters rests with the club.

Versatile academy graduate Ake eventually thrived during a successful loan stint at Bournemouth during the first half of the 2016-17 campaign, although made just two Premier League appearances for his parent club after being recalled to much fanfare during the January transfer window.

Eddie Howe later swooped to secure a club-record deal worth £20m ($26.2m) that reunited the Netherlands international with former Blues teammate Asmir Begovic after he communicated a desire to seek more regular first-team opportunities elsewhere.

Ake faces an early reunion with his former employers on Saturday (28 October) as defending champions Chelsea visit the Vitality Stadium. Conte was pressed during his pre-match press conference on if he tried hard to keep the player in west London.

"My answer is always the same," he told the Evening Standard. "I can give my opinion to the club, but the last decision is with them."

Asked if he could understand why Ake left, he replied: "To play regularly is not simple. It's not simple. When you decide to stay in a great team you have to accept a great challenge and that you deserve better."

Conte was also keen to keep Nemanja Matic at Chelsea during the summer transfer window, although claimed after his £40m sale to title rivals Manchester United that sometimes you must accept "different decisions" and a "crazy transfer market."

The passionate Italian revealed that N'Golo Kante is not ready to face Bournemouth after recovering from a hamstring injury, although he hopes to have the French midfielder back for Tuesday's Champions League trip to Roma.

Victor Moses also remains sidelined, while Danny Drinkwater "needs to find the right physical condition" after finally making his Chelsea debut in midweek during the Carabao Cup fourth round victory over Everton.

In a somewhat fiery media appearance, Conte dismissed various reports concerning the Chelsea team's supposed unhappiness with his training regime, his own uncertain future and suggestions that compatriot Carlo Ancelotti is ready to commence a second spell in charge of the club he led to a domestic double in 2009-10 as " b******t".

He further claimed that speculation suggesting a number of disgruntled members of his squad had recently contacted former assistant boss Steve Holland to register their displeasure at his methods "lacked respect".

Nathan Ake
Nathan Ake has made 10 appearances since rejoining Bournemouth on a permanent deal in June