Inter eye cut-price Chelsea struggler; Arsenal suffer double injury blow

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Branislav Ivanovic

According to London Evening Standard, Inter Milan are hoping to sign Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic on a pre-contract next month; whilst The Independent report that Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez are set to miss Arsenal’s vital Champions League clash with Olympiacos next week. 

Veteran defender Ivanovic has been a regular fixture in the Chelsea starting Xi since his £9.8million arrival from Lokomotiv Moscow in 2008 and is widely regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound signings in the club’s history, having won a Europa League title, a Champions League title, two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and a Capital One Cup during his 328 Blues appearances.

But the Serbian international has struggled for form this season and with his contract set to expire in the summer, his future at Stamford Bridge remains uncertain. Inter Milan are hoping to capitalise on the situation by offering a lucrative two-term pre-contract when the 31-year-old is allowed to talk to other clubs under the Bosman ruling in the new year.

Although Chelsea are more than likely to grant Ivanovic the chance to extend his current terms, the club has a policy of only allowing twelve-months contracts for players over 30 and Ivanovic is believed to want a longer deal.

Meanwhile, The Independent report that Arsenal could be without two key players for their Champions League clash with Olympiacos next week – flying winger Alexis Sanchez and playmaker Santi Cazorla.

Sanchez limped off during a 1-1 draw with Norwich City on Sunday with a hamstring injury, whilst Cazorla picked up a worrying knock in a challenge with Canaries midfielder Gary O’Neil. Both will be assessed this week but even if the Chilean’s hamstring issue isn’t serious, it could still see him out for three or four weeks. The Spain international, meanwhile, has been described as a ‘serious doubt’ for Wednesday’s visit to Karaiskakis Stadium. 

The Gunners need to win by a two goals or a high-scoring one-goal margin to ensure they make the Champions League’s round of 16. The good news, however, is that centre-back Laurent Koscielny, another victim of the Carrow Road draw, appears to have recovered from his hip injury and could even be fit to face Sunderland at the weekend.

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