Chelsea swoop for Spain star Cesc Fabregas
Chelsea, who are 2/1 second-favourites for the Premier League title next term with Coral, have pulled off a major transfer coup by capturing Barcelona and ex-Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas.
The 27-year-old Spain international, who was once the captain of the Blues’ London rivals, joins Stamford Bridge on a five-year deal for an undisclosed fee, thought to be in the region of £30m, from Barca. Fabregas also confirmed that the Gunners decided against taking up their option to re-sign him.
“I do feel that I have unfinished business in the Premier League and now is the right time to return,” said Fabregas. “I considered all the other offers very carefully and I firmly believe that Chelsea is the best choice.”
“They match my footballing ambitions with their hunger and desire to win trophies. They have an amazing squad of players and an incredible manager. I am fully committed to this team and I can’t wait to start playing.”
Fabregas made over 300 appearances and scored 57 goals for Arsenal in all competitions between 2003 and 2011. He then returned to boyhood team Barca, but is the first high-profile departure in their summer clear-out after a trophyless campaign under Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino.
When it became apparent Barcelona would listen to offers for Fabregas, as new boss Luis Enrique is set to completely overhaul the Nou Camp squad, Chelsea moved swiftly for him to replace long-serving midfielder Frank Lampard.
At Barca, Fabregas made over 150 first-team appearances and netted 42 times. Only Angel Di Maria of Real Madrid made more assists than him in La Liga last term.
With 89 caps for Spain and 13 international goals, Fabregas is a key player for the World Cup holders, who are 13/2 third-favourites to retain their global crown. Used on occasion by La Roja boss Vicente del Bosque as a false number nine, Blues counterpart Jose Mourinho may be tempted to do the same at the Bridge next season.
Fabregas’ Spanish national teammate Diego Costa is also expected to join him at Chelsea before long, with reports claiming a £32m move from Atletico Madrid is almost officially complete.
The departure of Brazil defender David Luiz to French champions PSG, although yet to be formally sealed, has freed up Fabregas’ favourite number four shirt at the Blues, so he will wear it.