Branislav Ivanović may have played his final match for Chelsea. Another legend on his way out, probably heading back to Russia to sign with Zenit St. Petersburg. 376 appearances, 15th all time, just behind Osgood and Drogba. Countless goals, trophies, memories.
And if not now, then in the summer. But it’s surely looking like it’s now. That’s just how things go, I suppose.
There will only be one of the old or even semi-old guard remaining after Bane’s out. And John Terry himself could be done this summer, at least as far as a playing career is concerned.
A time for change. A time for renewal.
Of course, Ivanović is only 32, going on 33. He may have lost a yard or three of pace, but he’s not quite to the point of having to retire. In fact, over in Russia, they seem to be quite excited by his return. He is, after all one of the greatest ever players to emerge from the Russian Premier League, making his name at Lokomotiv Moscow and earning his big-money move to Chelsea almost a decade ago (for €12m, which was a lot more back then than now) .
Sport-Express, whose breaking story was the origin of all the Zenit rumors over the past 24 hours or so have published no less than a dozen stories dealing with every angle of Bane’s potential move to the Russian title contenders.
It was in fact the agent of another Zenit player, Domenico Criscito who let the news slip, while also revealing that even though his client could want out, it’s another international defender, Belgium’s Nicolas Lombaerts, a center back, who might be making way for the rumored £2.5m-man. Ivanovic’s versatility is a key factor since Zenit already have two serviceable options at right back. Andrea Ranocchia was another option for Zenit, but the Internazionale defender might be staying in Italy or possibly moving to the Premier League.
Meanwhile, there’s a fond reminiscing for Bane’s time at Lokomotiv, brief as it may have been at just a little over two years, and even his old coach, Slavoljub Muslin, who’s currently the head coach of the Serbian national team gets interviewed.
Ivanović’s move to Zenit isn’t final or certain just yet, but all signs seem to point it becoming reality in the last few days of the transfer window. There’s possibly late interest from West Brom or maybe even another Russian team, but the Zenit deal looks to be on, and they’re almost excited as we’re sad.