West Ham will be looking to take advantage of Chelsea’s squad restructuring in January, according to reports on Tuesday.
Blues manager Antonio Conte is believed to be still committed to embarking on a heavy renovation of the squad despite their recent upturn in form and re-emergence in the Premier League title race, which means that certain fringe players are likely to be allowed to leave the club.
Cesc Fabregas will be the biggest casualty of the shake-up, with reports last week claiming that the Spanish international would be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge in the January transfer window. Although he Fabregas has admirers in Italy, the Mirror are reporting that West Ham United will look to sign the 29-year-old on a temporary deal in January.
The move would allow Fabregas to stay in the Premier League (and London), and the report also suggests that Chelsea would even be willing to subsidise part of wages to make a move happen.
That being said, convincing him to make the move to the London Stadium could be tricky. West Ham currently sit in 17th place in the league table after a poor start to their season, and could be set to lose star player Dimitri Payet as a result. Therefore convincing another big-name player, one who admittedly hasn’t actually played well in around 18 months, to join them could be tricky.
Someone who might be more inclined to move to East London, however, is Branislav Ivanovic. The Serbian international is set to see his contract expire in the summer, and with no prospect of a new deal currently on the table, West Ham are reportedly also looking to sign the 32-year-old for a cut-price fee.
Conte is set to welcome Kurt Zouma back from injury in the coming days, and with César Azpilicueta converted to a central defender in the new 3-4-3 tactical system, first team opportunities for Ivanovic at Satmford Bridge even before the manager dives into the transfer market.
Whether or not Fabregas and Ivanovic do decide to leave Chelsea in January or cling to the slim hope they can force their way into Conte’s places this season, it does appear only a matter of time before their respective Stamford Bridge careers draw to a close.