But the Serbian wanted to join the Baggies with Slaven Bilic describing his signing as a “no-brainer.”
Ivanovic won three Premier League titles and three FA Cups during his time at Chelsea. He also won the Russian Premier League and Russian Cup with Zenit Saint Petersburg last season.
Now 36-years-old, the defender wanted one more crack at the Premier League.
And Bilic expects him to make a big impression at The Hawthorns.
“I know him well, he comes from the same region as me,” the head coach said.
“We speak very similar. I’ve known him a long time, he’s a very positive guy.
“When I first heard he was available, we acted straight away to get him.
“I have many friends in Russia. I did my homework, he was captain of Zenit, champions of Russua, he was instrumental for them, a top guy.
“It’s a great thing for us he came, he’s extremely hungry and motivated.
“This was a no brainer. Absolutely,
“He ticks all the boxes. Free, important. Experience, important, but he’s not here to tell us stories from the Champions League! The most important thing is quality of the player.”
Ivanovic was officially announced as an Albion player on Tuesday. And Bilic expects him to be available to play in a few weeks.
“He didn’t train from the end of last season, but he’s one of those guys who was born fit,” the Croatian said.
“We won’t rush him, but it won’t take him long.
“The most important thing is his opinion, he’s not a kid, he knows when he’s ready, according to his words, it’ll be soon.”