Chelsea star’s desire to stay in London puts capital clubs on alert
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side are finally finding the kind of form needed to challenge for the Premier League title. The west London outfit are currently enjoying a four-game winning streak in the league, something which they haven’t experienced since their title winning campaign two seasons ago.
But the Italian manager’s shift in formation which has brought about their recent success has left one man in particular out in the cold – and a whole host of top-flight teams could be set to battle it out for his signature.
With two Premier League trophies and a Champions League medal to his name, Branislav Ivanovic is one of the most decorated defenders currently playing in the top-flight.
And that’s why it’s so hard to understand why Conte is willing to let him leave at the end of the season.
But not too many teams will be complaining about that decision, and several clubs will be on red alert after the Serbian has reportedly expressed his desire to stay in London, rather than move his family out of the capital.
So where could he be heading?
Ivanovic will still feel as though he can compete at the highest level, which means he could potentially join up with former teammate Petr Cech once again at Arsenal.
Granted, the Gunners arguably boast their strongest defence since their Invincibles days, with the arrival of Shkodran Mustafi in the summer tightening things up at the back.
But they could be one defender short come the end of the season, with Per Mertesacker’s contract running out – and Gooners would undoubtedly welcome a replacement of Ivanovic’s calibre to the Emirates with open arms.
However, the London Stadium may well be the 32-year-old’s most likely destination, with West Ham manager Slaven Bilic lacking quality in depth at the back.
And a move for the defender would emphasis the ambition of the Hammers, who are looking to build on last season’s seventh-place finish.
Another side who may just make a move for Ivanovic is Crystal Palace.
Alan Pardew’s men have enjoyed a fairly decent start to their campaign, sitting in 13th-place. But that position isn’t good enough for Eagles fans, who will want their side to break into the top 10 again after a mediocre season last time out.
And it’s not a position in the table that is likely to attract the big Serb. Although that being said, he’d almost be guaranteed game time at Selhurst Park, as his presence would surely benefit a defensive unit which has already shipped 16 goals this season.
So where will Ivanovic end up next season? Would Gunners, Eagles or Hammers fans want him? And would Chelsea fans be happy to see the back of him?
Have your say in the comments section below!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing