Zenit Saint Petersburg full-back Branislav Ivanovic has refused to rule out a move away from Russia next year, with Barcelona interested in his services.
It is understood that the Camp Nou outfit are lining up a bid for the 34-year old Serbia International as the long-term fitness of Samuel Umtiti remains in doubt following knee surgery.
Barca are hopeful of agreeing on a short-term deal for Ivanovic before they pursue Ajax centre-back Matthijs De Ligt next summer, as Ernesto Valverde looks to bolster his defensive options.
The Serbia international’s current contract at Zenit expires at the end of the season and he is free to talk to potential suitors in the new year.
Speaking to Zenit’s official website, Ivanovic addressed speculation linking him with a transfer during the winter window, admitting that he doesn’t know yet what the future holds.
“I am pleased with everything at Zenit,”said Ivanovic. “But in football, you never know what will happen tomorrow.
“Now I’m giving everything to Zenit and preparing for the next game.”
Barcelona’s defensive issues continued over the weekend as they were knocked off top spot in La Liga, after being held to a 1-1 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano by Atletico Madrid.
The defending champions were staring down the barrel of a defeat after Diego Costa gave the hosts the lead on 77 minutes before Ousmane Dembele managed to snatch a crucial equaliser in added time.
Ousmane Dembele came off the bench to snatch Barcelona a 1-1 draw away to Atletico Madrid in Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash in LaLiga.
Diego Costa’s first top-flight goal this season looked set to give Diego Simeone his maiden league victory against Barcelona in seven years as Atletico’s head coach, which would have taken them to the summit.
But it was not to be as Dembele found space in the box in the last minute to beat Jan Oblak with a low shot that evaded a desperate effort by Lucas Hernandez to clear the ball off the line.
Sevilla’s 1-0 home win against Real Valladolid on Sunday sent them into first place by a point, with Valverde’s men now looking ahead to a Champions League clash against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Ivanovic will likely feature for Zenit on Thursday night in the Europa League against Copenhagen, before returning to domestic duty against Arsenal Tula next Monday.