Barcelona are ready to make a January move for Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, Goal can confirm.
The Serbia veteran has struggled for game time of late as Blues boss Antonio Conte has favoured a 3-4-3 formation with Victor Moses patrolling the right flank. Indeed, since the 3-0 loss to Arsenal on September 24, he has managed only four minutes of Premier League football, with his side winning all six matches in his absence and not conceding a single goal.
Meanwhile, Barca are short on that side of their defence, with Sergi Roberto filling in as something of a stop gap as Luis Enrique remains unconvinced about the qualities of Aleix Vidal.
As a result, the Catalan side are on the look-out for an addition to their squad in the winter transfer window and the 32-year-old would fit the bill perfectly. Not only does he possess experience at the top level, he would also be eligible to play in the Champions League due to Chelsea’s absence from Europe this season.
The Camp Nou outfit are seeking a player to arrive cheaply or on a free transfer in January. Ivanovic’s deal at Stamford Bridge is up at the end of the season and from the beginning of 2017 he is free to negotiate terms on a Bosman move for the summer. This means he will command only a minimal transfer fee, like Barca’s other options, Juventus’ Stephan Lichtsteiner and Darijo Srna of Shakhtar Donetsk.
Even if Barca succeed in the capture of an experienced player in January, they will look to bolster the same area in the summer by adding another player in that position to their roster.
Ivanovic, meanwhile, has been at Chelsea since 2008, when he was signed for a fee of €13 million from Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow. In the subsequent period, he has turned out over 350 times for the Stamford Bridge outfit, winning most notably two Premier League titles as well as the European Cup in 2011-12.
He is open to a new deal, and the possibility is not so distant given that it was late January 2016 before he was previously handed a one-year extension.