Jose Mourinho has revealed that 18-year-old Ola Aina is in contention to replace Branislav Ivanovic in the Chelsea defence for their Premier League fixture against Aston Villa tomorrow afternoon.
The Portuguese tactician has confirmed that Ivanovic, 31, will miss the clash at Stamford Bridge as he continues his recovery after picking up a hamstring injury while representing Serbia.
The experienced full-back, who has endured a torrid start to the season, could be out for the next couple of weeks, but, according to Mourinho, the Blues have as many as four solutions to fill the defender's boots.
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As well as Aina, Mourinho could call upon Cesar Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma or Ramires to replace the crocked Ivanovic.
As reported by the club's official site, speaking in his press conference ahead of the Villa game, Mourinho stated: "I have four solutions: I have Azpilicueta, I have the adaptation of Zouma or Ramires and I have Ola Aina, an 18-year-old who has never played a Premier League game but he’s a boy with lots of potential. He’s also an option.
"It depends on matches, opponents, the moment, but we have solutions."
Time for a change
Ultimately, the unfortunate injury picked up by Ivanovic could actually be a blessing in disguise for Mourinho and Co.
From day one this season, Ivanovic has struggled to prove his credentials, often looking out of place in the club's back-line. The once self-assured full-back is longer a reliable option for Mourinho, who must be concerned.
However, with Ivanovic set for a period of reflection on the sidelines, it's a chance for another player to step up. Perhaps the unknown quantity of Aina should be handed an opportunity to shine. He could prove to be a breath of fresh air in west London.
Chelsea fans: who should replace Ivanovic? Have your say below!