Branislav Ivanovic, 32, has completed his move from Chelsea to Russian Premier League side Zenit St. Petersburg as the transfer window in Russia is open until Feb. 24. Ivanovic needed to be registered as a Zenit player last night in order to be available for their upcoming European games.
The Chelsea defender had fallen down the pecking order this season and the Serbian international has joined Zenit on a free transfer, signing a two-and-a-half-year deal with the club challenging for the league title and in the Round of 32 of the UEFA Europa League.
After signing for Chelsea in 2008 from Lokomotiv Moscow, Ivanovic went on to become an integral part of the Blues as he made 377 appearances and scored an impressive 34 goals.
Ivanovic featured mainly as a right back for Chelsea but also played several times in central defense. He won the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League (he scored the winner in the 2012-13 final in Amsterdam) Premier League title twice, three FA Cups and a League Cup in his glittering career in west London.
With Nathan Ake and Kurt Zouma rising through the ranks, Chelsea has plenty of options to replace Ivanovic. Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta have become a force to be reckoned with in Chelsea’s three-man central defense and that’s reduced Ivanovic to 16 appearances this season.
In his 377th and final appearance for the Blues he came on as a sub in the FA Cup fourth round clash with Brentford at Stamford Bridge. He made a typical surging run from right back, rolling back the years to hammer home one last goal. Clearly emotional, Ivanovic will always be welcome back at the Bridge.
CARSON, Calif. (AP) French midfielder Romain Alessandrini joined the LA Galaxy as a designated player Tuesday.
The 27-year-old Alessandrini spent the past 2 1/2 seasons with Marseille, his hometown club. He previously spent two seasons with Rennes in France’s top league.
Alessandrini had 11 goals and nine assists in his Marseille career, but made only eight appearances this season. His playing time was likely to decrease even more with the recent arrival of Dimitri Payet from West Ham.
With his career stalled at Marseille, Alessandrini elected to start over with the Galaxy, who have revamped their roster after failing to win their record sixth MLS title last season.
In an interview with the Galaxy’s website, Alessandrini said he is coming to “the best club in the United States.” He cited former Galaxy stars David Beckham and Steven Gerrard as inspirations for his move.
“He is in the prime of his career, and has spent time playing at a top division in Europe,” Galaxy general manager Peter Vagenas said in a statement. “Romain will play a valuable role in our team’s success this season.”
Alessandrini fills one of the Galaxy’s two vacant designated player slots after the offseason departures of Robbie Keane and Gerrard, who left along with Landon Donovan, Mike Magee, Jeff Larentowicz, Leonardo, Alan Gordon and Bruce Arena, their longtime coach and general manager.
Mexican star Giovani Dos Santos occupies a designated player slot, and the third seems likely to go to Belgian defender Jelle Van Damme, who is returning from an outstanding debut season with the Galaxy.
Alessandrini’s speed down the left side will boost the Galaxy’s offseason makeover of their midfield alongside fellow newcomers Joao Pedro and Jermaine Jones. Sebastian Lletget is likely to get a larger role along with fellow holdover Emmanuel Boateng.
The Galaxy began camp earlier in January under new coach Curt Onalfo. They open the regular season March 4.
January transfer window: Grades for each Premier League club
Chelsea: C – The Blues brought back Ake and kept hold of Begovic and Diego Costa, plus they sold Oscar for an astronomical fee. Conte didn’t get the experienced striker he wanted as cover for Costa but that was the only stumbling block. Overall the squad was trimmed significantly and the Costa situation was handled. For now…
Hull: D – Hard to know how this will go for Hull. They sold Jake Livermore and Robert Snodgrass for big money and Marco Silva has brought in plenty of unfamiliar faces. Evandro, Niasse and Omar Elabdellaoui have already made a big impact, while Ranocchia and N’Diaye have quality pedigree. Did the Tigers really need to sell Snodgrass, their top scorer, now?
Liverpool: C – Jurgen Klopp should have moved for a central defender in the window but there was a lack of quality out there in January. No incomings at all tells us that Klopp is happy with his squad. They are in the top four mix and have trimmed their squad accordingly.
Manchester City: C – Another big club which didn’t really do anything. Gabriel Jesus finally joined but that deal was done in the summer. Surely Pep Guardiola had to buy some new defenders in January? If he had done, they could have kicked on and mounted a title challenge. Now it’s all about the top four or bust.
Manchester United: C – See above. United didn’t really need much in January and managed to move on some of their fringe players such as Memphis and Schneiderlin for big money. Job done. Like City and Liverpool, their long-term target remains a top-class center back.
Middlesbrough: F – A really bad window for Boro. They brought in Gestede, Bamford and Guedioura who are all solid players but they needed extra quality in attack. You can understand why manager Aitor Karanka looks so frustrated at the Riverside. Deals for Snodgrass, Bojan and Jese Rordiguez fell through to compound their misery.
Sunderland: F – It turned in to a bit of a nightmare window for the Black Cats. It’s obvious David Moyes didn’t have much money to spend and he’s lent on his old clubs to bring in Gibson, Oviedo and Lescott. Losing Van Aanholt was a blow and Sunderland really need to spend big on strikers to help Jermain Defoe. A potentially fatal decision not to strengthen this month with relegation looming.
Swansea City: B – Really good window for the Swans who have have added four key starters in Olsson, Carroll, Narsingh and Ayew. Three wins in four games in January also helps with Paul Clement‘s new-look squad. Keeping hold of key players like Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente was also key.
Tottenham Hotspur: C – Another meh window for a big club. Spurs have had a few defensive injuries but they have cover. With an expensive new stadium to pay for this was always going to be a quiet window.
West Bromwich Albion: C – Jake Livermore was a surprise buy considering all of the midfielders the Baggies already have. Another striker was high on their list to replace Berahino but they couldn’t quite get Jay Rodriguez.
Out: Oscar (Shanghai SIPG), John Mikel Obi (Tianjin TEDA), Patrick Bamford (Middlesbrough), Dion Conroy (Swindon Town), Marco Van Ginkel (PSV Eindhoven, loan), Jay Dasilva (Charlton, loan), Isaiah Brown (Huddersfield Town, loan), Fankaty Dabo (Swindon Town, loan), Charlie Colkett (Swindon Town, loan), Fikayo Tomori (Brighton & Hove Albion, loan), Mukhtar Ali (Vitesse Arnhem, loan)
Out: Tom Carroll (Swansea City), Anton Walkes (Atlanta United, loan), Ryan Loft (Stevenage, loan), Shayon Harrison (Yeovil Town, loan), Connor Ogilvie (Stevenage, loan), Luke Amos (Southend United, loan).