EXCLUSIVE | By Chelsea correspondent Branislav Ivanovic
Chelsea have offered Branislav Ivanovic a one-year contract extension but are still lining up a move for Nathaniel Clyne.
The Premier League club are eyeing the Southampton star as Ivanovic’s long-term replacement at right-back and could make a bid this summer even if Ivanovic commits to a new deal.
Clyne has said he wants to play Champions League football, with manager Ronald Koeman admitting that it will be difficult to keep him next season, which is the final year of his Saints contract.
Chelsea have been keeping close tabs on the 24-year-old England international and are weighing up a £10million summer bid although they face strong competition from Manchester United.
The west Londoners, who are closing in on the signing of Brazil prodigy Nathan for £4.7million, have offered Ivanovic another 12 months on top of his current deal, which expires in 2016. This is in line with the club’s policy of handing one-year deals to players over 30.
Manager Jose Mourinho is a big admirer of the 31-year-old’s resilience and has made it clear that he regards him as an integral member of his team.
Ivanovic has been Chelsea’s regular right-back since signing from Lokomotiv Moscow in 2008 and has started all 31 of the team’s Premier League matches this season as well seven of their eight Champions League games.
He can also fill in at centre-back and Ivanovic could be switched across the defence next season to provide room for Clyne.
Cesar Azpilicueta played at right-back before moving to Stamford Bridge but has been outstanding since being asked to slot in at left-back in the middle of last season.