Chelsea face defensive dilemma as Carvalho joins Real Madrid

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Chelsea centre-back Ricardo Carvalho is set to complete a £6.7m move to Real Madrid, where he will be reunited with former manager Jose Mourinho.

The 32-year-old Portugal international joined Chelsea from Porto £19.8m in 2004, and after winning three Premier League titles at Stamford Bridge, he becomes Real’s fifth summer signing.

“Chelsea can confirm it has agreed terms with Real Madrid for the transfer of Carvalho,” said a club statement.

The timing of the move could be a source of consternation for Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, as Carvalho leaves the Italian with just two fit specialist centre-backs for the club’s first game of the season.

Of the three central defenders left in the squad, only John Terry and Michael Mancienne are available for the match against West Brom on August 14th, which Chelsea are 1/7 to win.

Brazilian defender Alex is set to miss the start of the season with injury, but his understudy Mancienne has only made a handful of appearances for 13/8 Premier League title favourites.

Branislav Ivanovic switched from right-back to central defence for the Community Shield loss to Manchester United, and the Serbian may have to deputise in the same position against the Baggies.

Although Ivanovic is an able replacement, Ancelotti will be concerned by a lack of strength in depth in terms of the squad’s defensive options.

How will Carvalho’s departure affect the club? Chelsea are priced at 10/1 to repeat last season’s double success of winning the Premier League and the FA Cup. See the full Chelsea Specials market.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.