By Dominic Toner
Barcelona are considering a move for Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, according to a report.
Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo, as cited by talkSport, claim that the Spanish champions are eyeing a January attempt to sign the 32-year-old.
The veteran defender is not currently involved in Chelsea’s starting XI and his contract is set to expire at the end of the season, meaning Barcelona could agree a reasonable price for the right-back.
Mundo Deportivo claim that Barcelona have also shortlisted Darijo Srna and Stephan Lichtsteiner as a potential right-back target, with Sergi Roberto and Aleix Vidal their current options.
Ivanovic has made eight appearances this season and fallen out of the starting XI after manager Antonio Conte switched to a 3-4-3 formation.
The Serbian international has lost his place to Victor Moses at right wing-back and the versatile defender can not force his way into the back three.
He has lost a yard of pace in recent seasons and Italian manager Conte is using a system which requires energetic players in the wide positions, something that Moses and Marcus Alonso have settled very quickly into.
Ivanovic has won two Premier League titles at Stamford Bridge and has been the first-choice right-back for the majority of his Chelsea career since his arrival in 2008, making a staggering 369 appearances for the club in all competitions.
Football website Goal reported on Wednesday that the loyal defender wants to extend his contract with the Blues despite a potential lucrative move to Camp Nou.
Football Insider verdict:
Chelsea have not conceded in their last five matches since switching to a back three and Ivanovic may be surplus to requirements for manager Antonio Conte. The defender should not be considered a long-term option for the Blues and they should target competition for Victor Moses at right wing-back in the upcoming transfer window. Club servant Ivanovic should certainly not be pushed out of the club, but his game time is set to remain restricted. A move away from Stamford Bridge could be in the best interest of both parties and Ivanovic could still have one more adventure in him at Barcelona, who often rotate due to the number of competitions they challenge in.
In other Chelsea news, this is why the club would be insane to let this midfielder quit in January.