Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic is reportedly fearful over his future at Stamford Bridge as he faces a fight to keep hold of his place in the starting line-up.
The 32-year-old has made over 250 Premier League appearances for the club since arriving from Lokomotiv Moscow in 2008.
However, as reported by The Telegraph, there is real concern that he could be about to lose his place in Antonio Conte’s starting line-up following the signing of Marcos Alonso.
While the Spaniard will likely feature in his preferred position at left-back, that will shift Cesar Azpilicueta over to his natural role as a right-back.
In turn, that could push Ivanovic out of the team with John Terry and Gary Cahill established as the first-choice central pairing, while David Luiz has returned to west London to provide competition for places.
The Serbian international has less than 12 months to go on his current contract, and it now appears as though he’ll face a tough task in proving to Conte that he deserves a new deal.
After years of playing at a high level consistently, Ivanovic’s performances suffered a drop last season as Chelsea struggled across the board and eventually finished in 10th place in the Premier League.
Despite starting every game so far this year, he still hasn’t convinced all concerned, and so perhaps the time is right for a change.
Given his experience and track record of winning every trophy available at club level though, he could still be an important part of the squad moving forward and there is a case for Conte to retain him to ensure there is quality and depth in his group.