This morning has already brought ill news for Chelsea supporters everywhere, as several news outlets are running stories in which Serbian man-bear Branislav Ivanovic denies recent claims by his agent that was intent on staying at Chelsea in the face of interest from Spain and Italy. Ivanovic is quoted as saying,
"I’ve seen in the press that an agent called Vlada Borozan has been saying things on my behalf, I would just like to put on record that he is not my agent and does not have the right to tell the press anything on my behalf. With regards to speculation about my future, we will see what happens. But whatever happens, it will be between myself, Chelsea and my actual representatives.As it stands today, I am a proud Chelsea player, four years remaining on my contract, have just won the Champions League, just captained my country on international duty, and am now ready for a holiday with my family to recharge my batteries and get ready for next season."
The rumours surrounding an Ivanovic transfer to Spanish Giants Barcelona or Real Madrid, Italian power Napoli, or Russia's defending spending championships winner Anzhi, have mostly suggested we're looking for a transfer fee in the neighbourhood of £25m. To me, that's an interesting figure. If we assume we're going to buy a good right back to replace Jose Bosingwa anyway, would it be hard to replace Branko?
Now, that doesn't really seem like much of anything, and Chelsea have given no clue that they're willing to deal, but these quotes, along with new WAGNH author Karan's excellent article today about right backs has got me thinking about the possibility of a man-bearless Chelsea future, and whether we could, or indeed should consider cashing in on our ursine right back.
I don't think it would, at least in footballing terms. Essentially, Ivanovic is our first-choice Right Back, and our fourth-choice Centre Back. If we're buying a top-class Right Back anyway, like Azpilicueta or Isla, we're essentially stacking up at the position, since either could be considered first-choice in the absence of the Serbian. Selling Ivanovic would leave us with £25m, and in need of a backup Right Back and a second backup Centre Back. Neither of those should cost more than £10m, and, even with the extra wages, would probably end up being a financially-sound move which also gave us a perfect amount of depth at the back.
As I said before, though, there's no sign of Chelsea looking to sell, and I don't think any of us would actually want him sold, not least because it would mean we'd have to see Geoff Shreeves let him know he won't be playing in the Club World Cup with Chelsea this season. Really, I don't see any truth in the rumours. He may not be as wedded to the club as the earlier erroneous quotes might suggest, but he seems perfectly happy here, and we're perfectly happy to have him. In case someone comes in with a dynamite offer this summer, though, perhaps we should start thinking about how we'll bear a Chelsea team without Ivanovic.