Former Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic could be set for a Premier League return in the near future, with Fulham and Crystal Palace reportedly among the clubs interested in signing the veteran during the January transfer window.
The 34-year-old has been a regular at Zenit since his move to Russia last February, but his contract is up in the summer, and while the club have the option to extend his deal by a further year, his situation seems to have sparked significant interest.
That’s if the Mail are to be believed, at least, as they report that Barcelona are the frontrunners to sign the defender, and see him as an adequate short-term replacement for the injured Samuel Umtiti.
While his prospective London suitors are unlikely to have the financial capital to compete with the Catalan giants, Ivanovic knows the city well, and wouldn’t be the first player to choose first team football over a big money deal.
His last spell in the Premier League was hugely successful, winning three Premier Leagues, three FA Cups and a Champions League with Chelsea, scoring 34 goals in 377 games, so while a potential relegation battle with Fulham may not quite be what he’s used to, a return to the league may be tempting.
Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic is thought to be after experienced players to dig his side out of the doldrums after a tough start to the season, at least, and Ivanovic would certainly fit that mold if they could complete a move in January.
As far as Palace’s interest goes, there is little in the way of concrete news to work with, but he would certainly add some quality and depth to Roy Hodgson’s defence as he looks to keep his side clear of the drop zone.