Reports have emerged in the past few days that Barcelona are interested in Branislav Ivanovic.
The Serbian defender, who has made nearly 350 appearances for Chelsea, is out of contract in the summer. He has played a bit-part role at best so far this season.
The Sun are reporting that Barca boss Luis Enrique sees Ivanovic as a quick fix to his full-back problems. That means Ivanovic could leave as soon as January for a small fee.
Youngster Sergi Roberto is currently filling the role despite being a midfield player by trade, and Enrique apparently has doubts over the abilities of Aleix Vidal.
The Serbian made another cameo appearance in Saturday’s derby win over Tottenham. Next up for the Blues is Manchester City, and you can buy Chelsea tickets online at our partner site.
Ivanovic is free to talk to other clubs in January under the Bosman ruling, but other sources claim the Serb wants to fight for a contract extension at Stamford Bridge. Indeed, one source close to Ivanovic says reports linking him with a move to Barcelona are ‘rubbish’.
After enduring a torrid 2015/16 season, Ivanovic has been displaced by Victor Moses since the switch to 3-4-3. Now little more than a fringe player, a move does seem likely.
Conte has many defensive targets, and judging how two of his defensive acquisitions have been performing – David Luiz and Marcos Alonso – it would be futile to not trust the Italian’s judgement on the matter.
Ivanovic will turn 33 in February and it seems his best days are now behind him. Added to Victor Moses’ form, a recall to the first team is unlikely any time soon.
Chelsea historically have offered one-year extensions to their over-30s, but the right-back’s lack of match time and shaky season last year may affect his chances.