Despite some recent speculation suggesting PSG were keen to try and tempt Branislav Ivanovic away from Chelsea this summer, there is little doubt the resolute Serbian defender will be a key part of Jose Mourinho’s plans next season.
However there is more doubt about exactly where Ivanovic will line-up for the Blues, with the 29-year-old splitting his duties evenly between right-back and centre-back last season.
Much will depend on the other options available to Mourinho, and looking at the squad now there could be a case for suggesting when everyone is fit, Ivanovic is needed more at centre-back than he is on the flanks if Chelsea’s defence.
Cesar Azpilicueta became an increasingly important figure in the side throughout last season, making 27 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, and there would be few complaints if the Spanish defender started the season in the Blues’ first team.
In the middle of defence, Gary Cahill, David Luiz and John Terry are Mourinho’s main options other than Ivanovic, assuming that the Portuguese manager does not wish to continue Luiz’s development as a central midfielder.
The Brazilian was superb for Chelsea wherever he played throughout last season, and has become a leader within the Blues’ team, making it surprising that there has been speculation Mourinho would be happy to let Luiz go at the right price this summer.
At 32, John Terry is on the downslope of his career, and although Cahill has generally been solid since joining Chelsea, a pairing of Luiz and Ivanovic is arguably stronger on paper than one involving either England international.
With Azpilicueta and Ashley Cole raiding down the flanks, and Luiz able to play the ball out of defence, Chelsea would have an ideal springboard for launching their attacks, with Ivanovic providing the composed solidity at the back.
Chelsea fans, what do you think? Should Jose Mourinho play Ivanovic at centre-back or right-back next season?
image: © Ben Sutherland