Barcelona are reportedly looking for defensive reinforcements in January, with former Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic on the club’s radar.
As per a report from Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are plotting a sensational move to sign veteran defender Branislav Ivanovic in the winter transfer window.
The Blaugrana are on the lookout for defensive cover in January, following a knee injury to first-choice centre-back Samuel Umtiti, that has sidelined him for several months. They were hit with further bad news, as Thomas Vermaelen returned with an injury while on international duty with Belgium.
Barcelona, as a result, have been left with just Gerard Pique and summer signing Clement Lenglet, who hasn’t exactly hit the ground running at Camp Nou, as the only options in the heart of the defence. This has forced manager Ernesto Valverde into dipping his toes into the transfer market in the winter once again for reinforcements.
Barcelona have had their eyes on Ajax sensation Matthijs de Ligt for a long time now, but will have to wait till the summer to sign the Dutchman. As a result, they are believed to be looking at someone proven and experienced at the highest level to provide cover till the end of the term, leading to the interest in Ivanovic.
The former Chelsea superstar currently plies his trade for Russian outfit Zenit St. Petersburg, having moved to the club from the West London outfit in January last year. Ivanovic had been linked with a move to Barcelona a couple of years ago as well, but nothing came to fruition back then.
A winner of three Premier League titles, along with the Champions League and the Europa League winners’ medals during his time with Chelsea, Ivanovic is a seasoned campaigner who has accomplished so much in his career and fits the profile of the player Barcelona are looking for at the moment.
Currently the captain of Zenit, the Serbian defender hasn’t missed a single minute of football in the Russian Premier League and his club’s UEFA Europa League campaign as well, despite being 34 years of age, highlighting his endurance and physical prowess.
Ivanovic will be out of contract with Zenit at the end of the season, although the Russian outfit have an option to extend his stay by another year. The 34-year-old, though, is believed to be looking for an exit and has reportedly held talks with Premier League side Crystal Palace and Fulham over the possibility of a January move.
With Barcelona also entering the fray to sign the former Chelsea defender, there is a good chance that he would prefer a move to Camp Nou. Given his experience and proven pedigree, Ivanovic would be a shrewd short-term solution for the Catalans as they look to tackle the injury problems they are facing. However, it remains to be seen if the transfer actually goes through in January.