Recently while researching through various Chelsea fans opinions, I noticed some interesting split views on our big Serbian defender, Branislav Ivanovic.
With all the talk of Chelsea needing to bring in a new right back, it’s not surprising that Branislav’s name gets mentioned, after all, he had done a tremendous job for Chelsea when asked to play on the right side of defence.
Jose Bosingwa left Chelsea this summer after the blues decided not to renew his contract, the inconsistent right back never really seemed to blossom in his time with Chelsea and gave the ball away far too often. I guess you can say our right back position has been troublesome for quite some time now.
Ivanovic was often asked to fill in at right back, and sometimes even started ahead of a fully fit Bosingwa. Whenever he was asked to play that role, he played it to a good standard, even though he has publicly confirmed he would rather play in the centre of defence.
Many Chelsea fans have been suggesting that we do not need to buy a new right back, because Ivan can play there. Well, yes and no in my opinion. Yes, he can play there, but no he cannot play there to a good enough standard, that will suit our new attacking, flowing system that Roman wants from us this season.
Ivanovic is a decent right back, there is no right back in the world that is better at defending than Ivan is, he even does a half decent job going forward, often carrying the ball forward in his clumsy way, bashing through defenders rather than going past them. But that is his way of playing, he is a machine, he destructs things. He possesses such a solid unit, and is an absolute powerhouse of a player. He’s a perfect centre-back. Yes he scores goals, but mainly with his head.
This is why, Branislav Ivanovic is a centre back by trade, he can be a back-up right back, but his position is, a centre back, a good old fashioned no nonsense one at that. And believe me, I rate Ivanovic as highly as I rate any other player, but for me, he is not a right back.
What we need from our right back this season is basically a carbon copy of Ashley Cole, but right-footed. We need someone who would rather be attacking than defending. A player who will be just as threatening going forward as we hope Eden Hazard will be, but at the same time will put his body on the line and defend for his life. We need our right back to be the pinnacle of our counter attacks, whether its pacing forward to join the attack, or bringing the ball out of defence to turn it into an attack.
These players are pretty rare, but we somehow have two quality left backs that can do it with Ryan and Ashley, so there must be a right back for us out there to suit the bill.
The player I rate as one of the highest quality right backs in the world right now is Tottenham Hotspurs Kyle Walker. I believe he can deliver all of the above-mentioned qualities, whilst still being very young. But who knows if he is available. I’m pretty sure that Andre Villas-Boas is to be named as the new Tottenham Head Coach, and if that happens, he will surely not release Kyle Walker, especially not to their London rivals.
On the plus side, we have got Maicon on our radar, I wont get into why I think he would be a good signing again, as I’ve already covered this (please see previous article), but I will say, he does fit the bill in terms of the style of right back we need.
To wrap it up, Ivanovic is a class player, a brilliant centre back and a key player to our squad, but he is not a right back and that’s why we do need to sign one soon.
Simon Phillips – please follow me on Twitter for new articles and news updates @chelseafctbos