EPL transfer rumour: Crystal Palace consider move for out-of-favour Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic
Branislav Ivanovic's contract expires in the summer and his exclusion from the starting XI has raised doubts over his future.
It has emerged that Chelsea’s veteran defender Branislav Ivanovic could face the axe under new manager Antonio Conte and it is believed that Crystal Palace is well-suited to make the most of it. Ivanovic is now 32 years old, settled in London and sources close to the Serbian revealed that he wishes to stay in London. Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur has its rosters filled and assuming they do not require surplus additions, Chelsea’s loss could only be West Ham or Crystal Palace’s gain.
Ivanovic is probably deemed as an ageing addition to the squad and seemingly doesn’t fit into Conte’s new 3-4-3 system that has worked oh-so-well for The Blues this season. Ever since Ivanovic has been left out of the Chelsea starting XI, they have gone on to keep a clean sheet in every game, that is four games in a row! Plus, with Ivanovic’s contract set to expire next summer, his future at Chelsea has turned into a doubt.
Crystal Palace or the Chinese Super League?
On the other hand, Crystal Palace has emerged as a possible destination for Ivanovic. The club seems to have been attracted towards the plethora of experience that the Serb carries in his resume.
However, the Serb has also attracted interest from across Europe and the Far East ahead of the 2017 Chinese Super League season. Due to such demands, Conte would be aware of using the January transfer window so that the veteran can also be of monetary help to the club besides nine years of illustrious service.
Furthermore, Conte himself has a number of targets on his list including Juventus star Leonardo Bonucci and Burnley's Michael Keane. Not that Ivanovic’s outright sale would cover for such transfer fees, but a nominal return should suffice in helping to buy another defender as planned.
Branislav Ivanovic joined Chelsea in 2007 from Lokomotiv Moscow and has won two Premier League titles and a Champions League at Stamford Bridge. According to the Evening Standard, Ivanovic is settled in London and wishes to remain in the capital once his Chelsea deal expires.
However, another cause of concern is whether he’d be allowed to leave for a rival club. Last year, Petr Cech controversially joined rivals from North London which seemed to upset many fans. He completed the move to Arsenal from Chelsea in 2015, although only after Roman Abramovich gave his seal of approval for the deal as Jose Mourinho tried to stop the goalkeeper from joining the Gunners.
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