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Time for Chelsea to let go of long-term servant

| 22.01.2016

Chelsea’s policy of only giving players over 30 one year contracts means that Branislav Ivanovic’s future at Stamford Bridge is being examined.

The Daily Express is reporting that the Blues are set to extend the Serbian defender’s stay and offer him £120,000 per-week.

However, this season has proved that the formerly solid player is declining and giving him another year would be a mistake for Chelsea.

The 31-year-old has been picked out as one of the key reasons the champions have struggled in their title defence and, looking at what he’s contributed this campaign, that looks a fair assessment.

Ivanovic contributed to the latest league success with four goals and five assists, while this season he has only managed one of each and his attacking threat seems to have disappeared.

Defensively he has also struggled, with this being his worst Premier League season for the number of clearances made per-game and the Blues have conceded 32 times in the 25 times Ivanovic has played.

He’s only managed an average of 2.2 clearances per game in the top-flight this season, compared to a career high of 5.8 in 2012/13.

The Serbian international’s diminishing contributions mean it would be wise to move him on and this would be best for both the team and the player.

A spell in the MLS would allow the former-Lokomotiv Moscow man to see his career out away from the scrutiny of European football fans and could win him an enviable level of support in America.

Liam Ridgewell never really made an impact in England during his spells with Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Brom, but he’s gone on to become a hero at Portland Timbers.

The 31-year-old is so adored in his new home that you can now purchase a Lego version of the defender and if Ridgewell can get this treatment, there’s no guessing how loved Ivanovic could become.

For Chelsea, offloading the experienced defender would give them the space to give the number of young players in their ranks a chance.

Ola Aina is viewed as a good prospect, while Papy Djilobodji and Baba Rahman have found their chances limited despite being new signings.

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Dan Ross

After a brief stint as a commentator, Dan took his passion for football into writing and went on to gain an NCTJ in sports journalism. A lifelong Walsall fan, he's followed the Saddlers through the highs, getting to Wembley for the first time ever last season, and the lows, namely relegation to League Two in 2006.