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Zenit St Petersburg target Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic - sources

Michael Ballack believes Chelsea look comfortable in first and thinks Diego Costa would be foolish to leave anytime soon.

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic is a target for Zenit St Petersburg, sources close to the player have told ESPN FC.

Serbia international Ivanovic has lost his spot in Antonio Conte's side after the Italian switched to a 3-4-3 formation, meaning Ivanovic has been forced to settle for a role on the bench.

Ivanovic has not started a Premier League game since the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in September after which Conte changed his side's formation and Chelsea have enjoyed major success since the tinkering of the line-up and went on to win 13 consecutive Premier League games.

A number of Premier League clubs have been monitoring Ivanovic's situation and have been weighing up moves for the defender, but Zenit are hoping to steal a march on their rivals by luring the player back to Russia.

Zenit have opened talks with Chelsea over Ivanovic and they are ready to offer him a long-term deal to persuade him to leave Stamford Bridge.

Ivanovic, who is currently one of Chelsea's longest-serving players after joining from Lokomotiv Moscow in January 2008, is out of contract at Stamford Bridge this summer and Chelsea could decide to cash-in on him this month rather than risk allowing him to run down his contract and leave for nothing at the end of the season.

Chelsea are open to the idea of selling Ivanovic before the close of the transfer window as they have plenty of cover in defence after recalling Nathan Ake from his loan spell at Bournemouth and Kurt Zouma is fit again after a serious knee injury.

Peter O'Rourke is ESPN FC's transfer news correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @SportsPeteO.

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