Shocking: Fan favourite Chelsea star heading for Stamford Bridge exit!!
Branislav Ivanovic is facing an uncertain future at Chelsea following the arrival of Marcos Alonso on transfer deadline day.
Conte originally told Chelsea that he only wanted a centre-back to strengthen his defence, but changed his mind after working with his new squad.
That meant the Blues had to make a late dash into the transfer market for a left-back.
The Serbian defender has just one year remaining on his current deal, and although he has figured in all of Chelsea’s games so far this season, reports are rife that could be about to change.
It has been suggested that Blues boss Antonio Conte will start Alonso at left-back and switch Cesar Azpilicueta to the right, therefore pushing Ivanovic out of the side.
The Serbian can also play in central defence, but with Gary Cahill, John Terry and David Luiz all ahead of him in the pecking order, his first-team opportunities could be limited.
The 32-year-old has been a revelation since arriving at Stamford Bridge in 2008, but there is a very good chance this could be his last season with the club.
Chelsea also have high hopes for Andreas Christiansen, who will return from his two-year loan at Borussia Monchengladbach at the end of the season, so a new deal for Ivanovic looks unlikely.
Ivanovic has less than 12 months to run on his existing contract and, despite his close relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, now faces a tough task to convince Conte he is worthy of an extension.
The Serb joined Chelsea in 2008 and has won every domestic and European club honour during his eight years in London.
Having been rated as one of the best right-backs in the Premier League, 32-year-old Ivanovic’s form dropped dramatically last season. He kept his place in Conte’s team for the first four games of the season but has still looked shaky.
Ivanovic can fill in as a central defender, but he is unlikely to get many opportunities in that position after Chelsea also re-signed David Luiz on deadline day.
Even if Conte were to move to a back three, Ivanovic would still have Luiz, captain John Terry and Gary Cahill ahead of him with Kurt Zouma nearing a return to fitness.
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