Cesc Fabregas has earned a reputation as one of the best playmakers in world football. Despite falling down the pecking order under Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge this year, Chelsea’s recent 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough saw Fabregas become the first player to register 10 or more assists in six different seasons.
Every time he creates a goal, he is serendaded by Chelsea fans with the ‘Fabregas Is Magic’ chant. Having been handed something of a rare start, the Spain international took his tally for the year to 11, laying on Diego Costa’s 23rd minute opener before setting up Nemanja Matic just after the hour mark.
Now sitting second in the all-time Premier League assists charts on 106 assists, second only to Ryan Giggs, who has 162. Fabregas also cut the gap between himself and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, who leads the charts this season with 15. Considering his limited game time this season, the fact he is only four assists behind De Bruyne, who has started more than 30 league matches for City, highlights just how instrumental Fabregas continues to be when he is on the pitch.
While the likes of Diego Costa, now 16/1 to finish as the league’s top goalscorer for anyone looking to take advantage of a free bet before the end of the season, will be disappointed to see such a creative player leave the club – not everyone is convinced Fabregas should still be at the club next season. One of the higher earners in a squad containing a number of midfield options, and now on the wrong side of 30, Chelsea fans appear to want him to stay but it remains to be seen whether the club share their feelings.
There aren’t many players in the Premier League who have achieved as much as Fabregas, both domestically and internationally. As well as lifting trophies at all three of his professional clubs, including the FA Cup with Arsenal, La Liga with Barcelona, the Premier League with Chelsea – oh, and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. One consistent throughout his career has been the number of assists he is responsible for. Fabregas led the Premier League in 2007/08 for Arsenal with 17 assists, going better in 2014-15 when he notched up 18 assists in his first season with Chelsea.
In his first two seasons at Stamford Bridge following his move from Barcelona, Fabregas was a key member of Chelsea’s midfield, starting over 30 league games in both campaigns. Since Conte’s arrival last summer, though, the Spaniard has found game time increasingly hard to come by. While he hasn’t been helped by a month-long injury absence earlier in the year, Conte has overlooked Fabregas for much of the season in favour of Matic and N’Golo Kante. Now 30, the midfielder won’t be satisfied with another year as a bit-part player, and Fabregas’ future at Stamford Bridge is far from clear.
With such an established reputation in English football, it’s no surprise that a number of Premier League clubs are believed to be taking an interest in Fabregas. Realistically, only a handful of English clubs would be able to offer the midfielder the sort of contract he would command, of which a couple will be among those closely monitoring Fabregas’ situation. Jose Mourinho, who signed the Spain international in 2015 as Chelsea boss, could definitely do with a player like Fabregas at Manchester United, but it seems unlikely we would sell to a rival. Liverpool are expected to be in the race to sign the playmaker if Chelsea
So it is possible Liverpool is an option as they are expected to be in the race to sign the playmaker if Chelsea do make him available.
So, should he stay or should he go?
If Fabregas was five years younger or simply happy to play a bit-part role, this would be a no brainer. At this stage of his career, though, and with midfielders being linked with summer moves to Stamford Bridge in the summer, Fabregas isn’t going to find game time any easier to come by next season. After admitting he hasn’t been happy with his lack of regular action this year, it doesn’t benefit anyone to have an unhappy player in the squad. If there is any way the club could convince Fabregas to stay, though, they really should. Players like Fabregas don’t come around very often, and replacing him would be a tough, if not impossible, job.