After being informed by La Liga giants Barcelona that he can leave the Camp Nou, former Arsenal maestro Cesc Fàbregas has been the talk of most English towns and cities. Premier League sides have been put on red alert. Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United have all been linked with a move in the last few days, with United having had a £35 million bid already rejected under David Moyes’ tenure in January.
Fàbregas’ former club Arsenal confirmed they would not be triggering a clause in their former captain’s contract, and have decided not to take up the option to re-sign him from the Catalan club.
In the wake of Chelsea’s Frank Lampard indicating he is set to leave the club after a 13-year spell on Monday, Chelsea have been rumored to drop a £30 million bid for Fàbregas. Lampard, who is the Blues’ all-time record goalscorer with 211 goals, is set for a move to newly formed New York City FC in America.
As a result, Chelsea have now propelled themselves into pole position for Fàbregas’ signature. The Blues will hope the Spain international can potentially be a long-term replacement for Lampard, although replacing one of the greatest Chelsea players of all time will be somewhat of an impossible task altogether.
On the other hand, José Mourinho will look to build a new legacy at his beloved Chelsea. The all but confirmed signing of a Diego Costa from Champions League finalists Atlético Madrid is a big statement of intent to other sides across Europe. Chelsea can certainly attract world class players with healthy salaries to match and Fàbregas will want Champions League football and a regular place in the starting eleven, but we all know how much Mourinho loves his rotation policy.
The former Arsenal man’s partnership with fellow midfield linchpin Nemanja Matić could prove to be scintillating in the future. Mourinho will look to instruct the tough-tackling Serbian to sit deep and allow Fàbregas to venture forward at times, linking up with Eden Hazard and the incoming Costa, which will no doubt be a mouth-watering prospect for Chelsea fans.
The playmaker, who is a product of the Barcelona academy before his time with the North Londoners, returned home to the Catalans in 2011, originally seen as a future successor to veteran midfield masterclass Xavi. The 34-year-old is still a key member of the Barca team, which has forced Fàbregas to adapt his style of play and occupy more of a forward role in a ‘False Nine’ formation in search for a starting birth. Since rejoining his boyhood club, he has scored 28 goals in 96 appearances.
New Barca boss Luis Enrique will now look to put his mark on the team and bring his own players into the club, hoping to become more of a force in all competitions after Barcelona missed out on silverware last term. Atlético Madrid’s impressive midfielder Koke has been one player linked with a move to the Nou Camp; this speculation has led to a potential exit for Fàbregas, the second time in his Barca career.
Fàbregas has enjoyed much success with his country, winning the 2010 World Cup and two European Championship winner’s medals whilst collecting 87 caps along the way with Vicente Del Bosque’s side. His future would preferably be sorted before the World Cup starts next week, with his mind fully focused on the tournament.
A move back to the Premier League will take some serious consideration from the father of one, with his preferred option being a return to The Emirates, the ground where he captained his side and became a fan favorite. In eight years with The Gunners, he made 212 appearances, scoring 35 times.
Is the surprise lack of indifference from Arsenal in not jumping the gun to bring him back a huge surprise as many make out? We know Arsène Wenger is a long term admirer of the player. Nevertheless, it’s no secret that the 2014 FA Cup winners have an array of exciting talent in their midfield, already being well equipped in Fàbregas’ preferred position in the center of the pitch.
Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta provide a defensive but forward-thinking base, with the likes of Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey being key players under the long-serving Frenchman’s leadership. Not to mention record signing Mesut Özil, who signed for £42 million in January. Wenger and the Arsenal board may feel their cash is spent better in other areas of the squad, on more worthwhile targets.