Former Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has emerged as a potential January transfer target for Crystal Palace according to a report in yesterday’s Daily Mail.
Now 34, you could be forgiven for thinking that the former Blues defender is well past his prime but the current campaign has seen him in fine form for Zenit St Petersburg, fuelling speculation over a potential return to London with either ourselves or Fulham.
The Mail’s headline makes reference to possible January interest in the Serbian from Barcelona of all places, as they scour the market for potential short-term cover to replace the injured Samuel Umtiti. It goes without saying that serious interest from the Catalan giants would blow both ourselves and Fulham out of the water but for now, the whole thing is nothing more than speculation.
Whilst comparisons between the Russian Premier League and our own division are full of holes to pick at, the 34-year-old has certainly been an imposing presence this term. He has so far notched up 7 tackles, 18 interceptions, 37 clearances and 11 blocks whilst taking part in all 900 minutes of Zenit’s league campaign to date. Yes, he is getting on in years but with Scott Dann still tentatively recovering from a ligament injury, a short-term move for Milivojevic’s international teammate may well have some legs in Roy Hodgson’s mind.
This story really has come out of nowhere, leading me to wonder if it’s just a case of the paper looking at the defender’s previous life in London and joining a set of invisible dots in the search for traffic but until the story is unequivocally denied, it’ll generate interest from readers. Part of me is fed up with the idea of signing ageing former stars with no re-sale value but given our recent struggles, it’s fair to say that our only target should be retaining a place in the Premier League beyond May.
Would you be happy to take Ivanovic on a short-term basis?