According to the Telegraph, Branislav Ivanovic faces a fight for his Chelsea future and could be set to leave on a free at the end of the season. Antonio Conte’s decision to sign Marcos Alonso on deadline day could trigger the exit as the Serbian defender is no longer guaranteed a regular starting berth.
Although Conte wasn’t originally planning on signing a left back, it is believed that he changed his mind after working with the squad and seeing the regression in Ivanovic’s game. Cesar Azpilicueta can now be moved over to his natural position of right back and provide the defence with balance, which it has previously lacked.
Despite being one of the most consistent players at Chelsea in recent times, Ivanovic struggled last season and was targeted often by opposition teams. The entire team struggled, but many underperformed due to attitude problems, while Ivanovic looked like a player on the decline. He was shifted to right back after joining Chelsea and has always lacked pace, but his energy and power made up for it. However, he is now not able to cover as much ground and his limitations have started to show. He has just one year left on his contract and will be a good option to have in the squad for the this season, but it would be a bad move from the club to renew his deal.
The Premier League returns this weekend and David Luiz will take the spotlight at Chelsea after re-joining the club on deadline day. There has been a lot of debate on whether it was a good move by the club to bring him back to Stamford Bridge. His concentration and discipline remain questionable, but Chelsea were desperate to sign a centre-back and Luiz does improve their first eleven. Chelsea legend Frank Lampard has given his view on the deal and is quoted as saying:
“It’s a good signing. I played with David,”
“He’s a great defender, great energy. At today’s prices, it’s probably not a bad signing generally.”
Lampard is right that at today’s prices it isn’t a bad deal. There is a lot of comparison to the price that Chelsea sold him for in 2014, but there has been a lot of inflation since then. The centre-back position can be a difficult one to source targets for and there have been some expensive mistakes made by Premier League clubs, namely Eliaquim Mangala. Although he can be reckless in his style, Luiz is proven and Chelsea know exactly what they are getting. There is little risk and for that reason it is a safe move from Chelsea.
Finally, the Mail report that Chelsea will revive their interest in Thiago Maia during the January window. The Brazilian is a defensive midfielder and the Blues are willing to offer £15 million to secure his signature. The club did try to sign him during the summer, but Santos wanted to keep him until the end of the Brazilian season. Thiago Maia played a vital part in Brazil’s Olympic success and it would be a coup for Chelsea to bring him to Stamford Bridge.
If the midfielder does move to Europe, Conte would be the perfect mentor for him, as he possesses many of the qualities that the Italian loves in his players. His reading of the game is good for a teenager allowing him to to shut attacks down early, before they become too dangerous. He is also comfortable on the ball and has good feet for a defensive midfielder. A move to Chelsea would provide him with the opportunity to learn from both Conte and N’Golo Kante, which would only have a positive influence on his development.
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