Eddie Howe revealed that Nathan Ake is likely to return to Chelsea after watching his Bournemouth side crash out of the FA Cup to League One club Millwall on Saturday.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has hinted he could look to bring Ake back to Stamford Bridge, describing him as an “interesting opportunity in this window for us”.
And Howe accepted he might imminently lose the versatile 21-year-old, who joined Bournemouth on a season-long loan back in June.
“It looks like that will be the case,” Howe said. “It’s not 100 per cent finalised yet.
“It’s easier said than done to say we are going to recruit a player in similar stature to Nathan and I’m not sure there’s too many out there.
“So that’s going to be a difficult one for us, but we will assess our options and try and make the right decisions.”
Howe, meanwhile, felt the noisy atmosphere at the Den contributed to the 3-0 defeat.
The Cherries boss made 11 changes to his team and Millwall took full advantage, with goals from Steve Morison, Shaun Cummings and Shane Ferguson securing a memorable third-round victory for Neil Harris’ men.