And there could yet be a reprieve for Andreas Christensen in 2017, with Chelsea rejecting a £14million bid from his current loan club Borussia Monchengladbach.

But he returned to Conte's team for the 3-1 victory over AC Milan on Wednesday night.

Chelsea also plan to bring Danish defender Andreas Christensen back from his two-year loan at Borussia Monchengladbach at the end of the season and handed 19-year-old full-back Ola Aina a new four-year contract and a place in Conte’s first-team squad this summer.

Ivanovic has less than 12 months to run on his existing contract and, despite his close relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abrmovich, now faces a tough task to convince Conte he is worthy of an extension.

The Senegal international won’t come cheap though, with Roma ace Kostas Manolas also likely to be an expensive purchase.

Ivanovic revealed that Conte has brought a real togetherness back to the club with his passion and organisation.

Monchengladbach have made attempts to sign Christensen on a permanent deal, but have been informed the 20-year-old is wanted back at Stamford Bridge at the end of this season.

It could mean that Cesar Azpilicueta is redeployed to his natural position at right-back, allowing Baba Rahman to slot in on the opposite flank.

The agent of Hoffenheim defender Niklas Sule has claimed Chelsea are scouting his client with view to making a possible bid for the 21-year-old next summer.

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And the 32-year-old feels that Conte - and the arrivals of N'Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi – have had a big impact.

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Like Ivanovic, Terry has less than 12 months to run on his contract while Cahill and Luiz will both be aged over 30 at the end of this campaign.

The Greek’s agent claims Chelsea are chasing his client’s signature alongside Manchester United and Manchester City, while there have also been links with Benfica youngster Victor Lindelof.

That is sure worry Conte, who has been linked with a number of big names across Europe since taking charge in west London.

Even if Conte were to move to a back three, Ivanovic would still have Luiz, captain John Terry and Gary Cahill ahead of him with Kurt Zouma nearing a return to fitness.

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Serbian ace suffered injury during pre-season win over RZ Pellets and could miss new manager's first league clash

After being a part of the Chelsea squad that produced the worst title defence in decades, the Serbian defender is wary of making any bold predictions about the impact that new boss Antonio Conte is having at Stamford Bridge.

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“So we just have to go step by step and game by game and every game will be a different story for us.”

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Ivanovic said: “I think with the new arrivals and the new shape we can improve a lot and we will make our players much better.

Ivanovic is now a major doubt to face West Ham at Stamford Bridge on August 15, dealing a huge blow to new boss Conte.

“The manager wants to put us together as a team to be strong, to be motivated and hungry for every second during the game, which is positive and good.

Having been rated as one of the best right backs in the Premier League, 32-year-old Ivanovic’s form dropped dramatically last season. He kept his place in Conte’s team for the first four games of the season, but has still looked shaky.

Sule’s agent, Karlheinz Forster, said: “Yes, there was interest from Chelsea. The English have made it clear that their interest will remain valid next year.”

Ivanović, Branislav - Chelsea (ENG)

But with Ivanovic also providing cover at centre-back – and with Kurt Zouma still some way off a full recovery from a cruciate knee ligament injury – Chelsea are now looking light at the back.

There is also an option to play Juan Cuadrado on the right if Conte opts to use the 3-5-2 system which saw him claim three consecutive Serie A titles with Juventus.

Ivanovic can fill in as a central defender, but he is unlikely to get many opportunities in that position after Chelsea also re-signed David Luiz on deadline day.

Ivanovic's pre-season preparations have been hampered by a dislocated shoulder he suffered in Austria.

Branislav Ivanovic believes the coming season will be the toughest in Premier League history, writes Simon Mullock in Minneapolis.

Branislav Ivanovic faces a fight for his Chelsea future after head coach Antonio Conte altered his plans to sign a new left back.

The Serb joined Chelsea in 2008 and has won every domestic and European club honour during his eight years in London.

“I think we are going to play in a different shape and it is going to be different for us and for the opponents, and we will see. I hope we are on the good road.”

The tough-tackling Serb picked up the injury during the 3-0 win over RZ Pellets last week and is set to miss at least three weeks of action.

“If all our squad is on top of our performances we can go very high.

But he said: “I think at the moment it is very dangerous to say anything about the future because we know how difficult the league is.

“Of course, the big teams want to be good again. So it’s going to be very exciting.

The former Italy boss’ top target is reported to be Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, who is also being chased by Everton.