Chelsea Transfer Rumours: West Ham keen on signing out-of-favour Branislav Ivanovic
West Ham are believed to be in the race to sign the out-of-favour Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, with The Express claiming that Slaven Bilic is set to launch a bid in the upcoming transfer window to bring the Serbian to the London stadium.
Ivanovic’s current contract with Chelsea expires in July 2017 and with Antonio Conte continuing to offer him a bit-part role at the club since switching back to his preferred 3-4-3 formation, we expect the club not to offer any extension to the 32-year-old, who joined the Blues in the winter of 2008.
Given his contract, Chelsea would be more than willing to let the player go for a fee, if only minimal, rather than lose him for free.
After having a rocky start to his Chelsea career, where he struggled with fitness issues and failed to impress the hierarchy at the club, the Serbian turned his career on its head and has enjoyed a great stint at the Stamford Bridge, winning numerous trophies under a number of managers.
A defender who can feature as a right-sided centre-back as well as a right-back, Ivanovic has been hailed for his defensive contribution. He is strong in the air, constantly uses his physical strength to keep attackers from getting into advantageous positions on the pitch and is unafraid to tackle as well as put his body on the line for the greater cause of his side.
In addition, he has also shown that he can be an attacking threat from set-pieces, scoring 33 goals in his Chelsea career, while also providing a number of assists.
However, with age catching up with him, the player has found playing time harder to come by and is not believed to be in the long-term plans of Conte, thus prompting West Ham into seeking him in the upcoming transfer window.
While he could be a valuable asset to Conte in terms of squad depth, we believe he has at least another 2 years of top flight football left in him and that might prompt the player into making the short trip down West London rather than remain a fringe player at the Stamford Bridge.
West Ham have failed to replicate their strong showing of the last season and are currently languishing in the bottom half of the table. The Slaven Bilic led side not only looks short of ideas up front, but has also been defensively poor this season and the club and as a result of the same, have been linked with a number of players in the recent time.
Bringing in a player of Ivanovic’s caliber would prove to be an immensely beneficial move for the club as he is a proven leader and winner who could help his side defensively. It is believed that Ivanovic prefers to stay in London and that might enthuse the West Ham hierarchy into pursuing the player even more aggressively.