By Harry Sykes
Juventus are ready to land Branislav Ivanovic next summer – but only if Stephan Lichtsteiner leaves the club.
The Sun claim that Chelsea defender Ivanovic “could be offered a three-year deal with Juve worth £41,000-a-week”.
It is said that the Serbia international’s current Chelsea contract, which is due to expire at the end of the season, is worth £65,000-a-week.
Ivanovic, 32, has slipped down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge following the arrival of Antonio Conte as manager and the hugely successful switch to a new system.
Chelsea have won six Premier League matches in a row, without conceding a goal, since Conte changed to a back-three comprising of Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta.
This appears to have effectively ended the Chelsea career of Ivanovic, although he remains a regular on the substitute’s bench and has still made nine appearances for the club this season in all competitions.
At Juventus, Lichtsteiner has been frozen out at Juventus following the summer arrival of Dani Alves from Barcelona.
Since joining Chelsea in January 2008 from Lokomotiv Moscow, Ivanovic has made 370 senior appearances, scoring 33 goals and supplying 33 assists from his right-back slot.
Football Insider verdict:
Ivanovic has been a fantastic servant for Chelsea and is undoubtedly the club’s finest right-back of the Roman Abramovich era. He remains a great warrior and a player for whom giving the maximum is non-negotiable each time he steps out on the pitch. But even the Serbian defender’s greatest admirers will accept that, at the age of 32, he is not the player he was. His legs start to wobble as soon as a lively left-winger runs at him and his experience and resoluteness cannot mask that he has lost a yard or two of pace. In the Premier League, that makes him far too vulnerable for a wide defending role. However, a transfer from Stamford Bridge next summer might not necessarily be inevitable. One option is for the versatile Ivanovic to be re-packaged as a centre-back, a position he has performed in with some success on a number of occasions.
In other Chelsea news, this 25-year-old is the signing of the summer.