Inter Milan are ready to take advantage of an ongoing disagreement between Branislav Ivanovic and Chelsea by offering the defender the contract he is after in January, according to ESPN.
Ivanovic's contract is set to expire at the end of the season and he will be eligible to talk to foreign clubs in the New Year.
Chelsea have yet to approach the Serbian over a contract extension, but they are aware of his desire to sign a multi-year deal, which goes against their current policy. They will not offer more than a one-year extension to a player over 30 and Ivanovic turns 32 in February.
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That means there is trouble brewing in the Stamford Bridge boardroom and Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini is ready to take full advantage.
Mancini is a big fan of the defender and has a two-year contract ready in waiting for New Year's Day, as well as the promise of a more prominent role in the first-team.
Settled but unsettled
It is an unfortunate situation for Ivanovic, who remains one of the club's longest serving players after arriving in west London in 2008. He is settled in England's capital but has been left frustrated with Chelsea's reluctance to show him more loyalty.
However, Chelsea cannot be seen to be handing out favours to certain players as it will set a precedent for future contract talks. Indeed, Gary Cahill is about to turn 30 and will almost certainly demand to be seen on a level standing as Ivanovic.
Chelsea have stuck to their guns in recent years, even forcing club captain John Terry to earn a new deal every year. It has worked up until now. The 34-year-old reinstated himself as one of the league's best defenders last term and has been happy with the arrangement.