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Watford tried to sign young Chelsea defender Nathan Ake before opting for Fulham's Matthew Briggs
Gianfranco Zola confirmed he did try to return to former club Chelsea to sign young defender Nathan Ake on loan.
Blues Academy manager Neil Bath revealed Ake had a chance to go out on loan to the Hornets but interim manager Rafa Benitez wanted to keep the 18-year-old at Chelsea.
Ake is a Dutch defender who can play at centre half or on the left side and is also comfortable in midfield.
He joined the Blues from Feyenoord two years ago and after a brief cameo on Boxing Day, made his full Chelsea debut against Middlesbrough last month.
Zola said: "He was one consideration we thought about when we were struggling with injuries but then we went for Matthew Briggs."
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