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Five Ivanovic replacements Chelsea should consider

Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic is one of the best pound-for-pound signings in the club’s history and certainly one of the most consistent right-backs throughout the Premier League era.

Unfortunately, however, the Serbian international has failed to demonstrate that this season, producing a level of form which can only be accurately described as ‘horrendously woeful’.

Indeed, he’s been dribbled past eleven times already this season – just four times less than last term after only eight games – and has been an ever-present member of a Chelsea defence who own the second-worst goals conceded record in the division.

Of course, the Blues have been ‘horrendously woeful’ in most departments this year and their unexpected plummet to 16th place can’t be solely blamed on him.

But now 31 years of age and seemingly no longer the physical yet offensive presence he was last season, Ivanovic’s days as Chelsea’s resident No.2 might be coming to an end.

With that in mind, here’s a list of FIVE potential replacements the Blues should consider.

CESAR AZPILICUETA


Let’s not rule out what Chelsea already have – namely, a fantastic full-back in Cesar Azpilicueta who can play on either side.

Indeed, the Spain international has become Chelsea’s resident No.3 since Jose Mourinho took the helm two summers ago but he was originally signed as a right-back and often features in that position for his country.

I’m certain the 26 year-old would prove equally impenetrable on the opposite flank, whilst playing on his natural foot would give license to add width in attack.

But that leaves Chelsea with the not-so easy task of finding another left-back of equal ability. Is summer signing Abdul Rahman Baba ready to fill the void? Perhaps not yet.

GREGORY VAN DER WIEL


Gregory van der Wiel is an incredibly athletic defender who likes to use that energy going forward.

His form can be turbulent and his off-field antics have landed him in trouble from time to time, but at the age of 27 one would like to think he now takes a more professional approach to his trade.

Likewise, the Netherlands international offers good pedigree as a former winner of the Yohan Cruyff Talent of the Year award at Ajax and plenty of experience, having claimed three consecutive Ligue 1 titles with PSG and made 61 appearances in European competitions throughout his career.

Perhaps most appealingly, he looks set to leave Parc de Princes on a free transfer at the end of the season with his contract winding down, having lost a first team place to Ivory Coast’s prodigious Serge Aurier.

He’s not the kind of signing that will take Chelsea to the next level, but remains a cheap and experienced option who could fill the void until a better solution comes along.

MATTHIAS GINTER


Matthias Ginter is by no means exclusively a right-back by trade. He’s regarded more as a centre-back come defensive midfielder.

But nonetheless, it’s a role which has seen him bag one goal and three assists in six Bundesliga outings for Borussia Dortmund this season and the 21 year-old’s all-round potential is undoubted, having been included in Germany’s World Cup-winning squad last summer.

He’s tall, technical and supremely physical – overlapping certain traits with the object of this discussion, Branislav Ivanovic, and fitting Jose Mourinho’s philosophy well.

Whether right-back should remain Ginter’s position long-term is certainly open to debate, but the versatile 6 foot 2 defender has recently claimed he’d like to play there more often.

Dortmund will be extremely reluctant to sell, however. They signed the former Freiburg youngster only last summer and he’s widely regarded as one of the club’s most exciting prospects.

DANI CARVAJAL


Dani Carvajal has enjoyed two fantastic seasons at Real Madrid since returning to the Bernabeu from Bayer Leverkusen in 2013.

He helped Los Blancos claim the Champions League title in 2014 and demonstrated equally superlative form last term, earning him a five-year contract extension in July.

That, in combination with five La Liga starts this season, suggests he’s still an integral figure in the Real Madrid first team.

Yet the La Liga giants coughed up a whopping €32million on Brazil international Danilo this summer, who is widely regarded as one of the top attacking right-backs in world football, so his long-term future remains a little unclear.

It could well be battle between the two this season to prove themselves as first choice in Rafa Benitez’ plans. Should Carvajal lose out, he may look to move on next summer.

SEAMUS COLEMAN


The obvious choice to succeed Ivanovic, at least in terms of the Premier League, is Everton’s adventurous right-back Seamus Coleman.

He’s easily one of the leading attacking full-backs in the English top flight and probably European football as a whole, bagging nine goals and five assists in 76 appearances since the start of the 2013/14 campaign – leading many to dub him ‘the Irish Gareth Bale’.

That’s not to say the 29-cap international’s defensive game isn’t up to standard. He’s continually improved upon it since first making the switch from midfield; whilst his power and athleticism has proved equally useful at both ends of the pitch.

That Premier League experience is another huge bonus compared to the other suggestions on this list. But that also means the 26 year-old is rated somewhere near the £20million mark – and whether Everton are actually interested in doing business with Chelsea after the John Stones debacle remains to be seen.

Article title: Five Ivanovic replacements Chelsea should consider

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