Pound For Pound Ivanovic Could Be Best Ever Buy In Chelsea’s History


I heard that Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho had said that Didier Drogba had been Chelsea’s best transfer signing in their history.

Maybe Frank Lampard and his fans would strongly disagree as Lampard cost less (£11m compared to Dorgba’s £24m fee), played more and is still Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer. I would imagine the fact Lampard now wears a Manchester City strip made Jose’s decision easier when he plumped for Drogba.

But I’d probably overlook the two of them and suggest that Branislav Ivanovic could possibly be Chelsea’s best ever signing.

The Serbian defender signed in January 2008 from Lokomotiv Moscow in a deal worth around £9.7m. Now the player’s career at Chelsea almost ended before it had really began after the defender was overlooked by Chelsea’s then boss Avram Grant who didn’t feature Ivanovic in any of his teams during Branislav’s first six months in England. Talks during that summer centred on Ivanovic going to Turin and signing for Juventus.

However new Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari had other ideas and wanted the Serbian international to stay around. That is probably the best decision the Brazilian made during his short stint when he was in charge at Stamford Bridge.

During that 2008/09 season, Ivanovic was finding his feet with the ‘Blues’. He was often rotated and no one at Chelsea seemed to know what position he best suited; either at right-back or as a central defender. Question marks continued to surround the six foot one defender until the following campaign when he seemed to nail down the right-back slot. That was probably down to the fact that he had a manager in Carlo Ancelotti who stayed around long enough to help instil confidence in Ivanovic and give him a decent amount of games to show the world what he was capable of.

Since that time the defender hasn’t looked back.

He has just made his 200th league appearance for the club and has made 300 in total. Since 2008/09 he hasn’t made less than forty appearances in a season.

Players like Jose Boswinga, Paulo Ferreira and Cesar Azpilicueta have vied for his starting berth and lost to the Serbian warrior.

Last week, Jose Mourinho stated that they would show Ivanovic’s bloodied boot to the academy players and tell them that was the commitment needed to be a winner at Stamford Bridge. Club captain John Terry also hailed his defensive colleague as a hero as he played the majority of the Man City game with an open wound.

That part of his game, the determination and battling spirit is one that gets results. It galvanises his teammates and scares his opponents. His style of leaving everything on the pitch is certainly admirable and also inspirational.

As a full-back he offers power and strength like no other in the league. That allows him to bully wingers and put out any threats early on. His aerial ability also means that teams think twice about using diagonal balls over the top to the left-sided wide-men as he will cut them off in the air.

Despite his power, the defender is also quite fast and doesn’t sit back and just defend. Whenever possible he will charge down the right flank and try and provide crosses or passes into the box. He already has three assists in the Premier League this season. Ivanovic also has a terrific, tireless engine and can run and run, that is clearly needed for any full-back in this modern era.

The thirty-year old is also fantastic in the box during set-pieces, both in terms of defending them and when his side are attacking. He won’t be bullied from any of the opposition and he has a good understanding with players like Terry and Gary Cahill. They are obviously well drilled on the training ground.

In his 300 games for Chelsea the Serb has scored an impressive twenty-eight goals. Actually since he has arrived in London the defender has been directly involved in fifty-seven Chelsea goals through scoring and providing assists.

He also scores important goals, usually saving a few for games against Liverpool. He also scored the winning goal against Napoli that sent them through in the Champions League against Napoli in the last 16 tie in the season that later saw Chelsea end up winners of the tournament. The Serb also got the winner in the Europa League final against Benfica a year later.

It comes as a bit of a surprise that he only has one Premier League title to his name but he has also won three FA Cups. He does have a Champions League winners medal but was suspended for the final. That yellow card against Barcelona in the semis typified Ivanovic, he will give and do anything for his teams cause.

As it stands it looks likely that Ivanovic will win more trophies at Chelsea with Mourinho back at the help.

People comment on Diego Costa and call him the dirty warrior with an edge. In Branislav Ivanovic Chelsea also have a warrior who will run through walls but isn’t dirty or controversial. He’s no nonsense, a battler, a winner, he’s loyal but above all he is fair. He doesn’t need to use negative tactics to scare players, he leaves that up to his physical style and willingness to put his club on the front foot even if that means he ends up sweating blood for the cause.

Ivanovic is a foot soldier that every successful football club needs to build on and rely on. He’s come along way since 2008 and has now cemented his Chelsea legacy as one of their best players ever. At £9.7m he has turned out to be an outstanding bargain.

He really does deserve to be up there with Drogba, Lampard and Petr Cech when we are discussing Chelsea’s all time best buys!

6 Responses to “Pound For Pound Ivanovic Could Be Best Ever Buy In Chelsea’s History”

  1. funny: “He’s nonsense, a battler, a winner, he’s loyal”

  2. I agree with this, his power and strength defines what the current Chelsea squad is all about. His versatility is also great, always tries 100% every game.

  3. Bob – Thanks it’s now changed, I could lie and say that I didn’t look at that line three times before I published and totally overlooked that each and every time.

    FM – Yeah his versatility is also a huge plus!

  4. well deserved.for me he is a true legend

  5. Sorry but as fantastic as Bane has been, its literally impossible to be the best pound for pound get we’ve ever had. That honour UNDOUBTEDLY goes to Ballack.

  6. […] Last season I even made an argument for the Serb being one of Chelsea’s best ever signings. […]

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