With Cesc Fabregas' contract running out in the summer of this year, the Chelsea midfielder looks set on making a move away from Stamford Bridge this January with AS Monaco the destination under the management of former Arsenal and Barcelona team mate Thierry Henry.
The Spanish play-maker signaled the end of his time at Stamford Bridge this weekend during the FA Cup 3rd win over Nottingham Forest. Despite missing a penalty in the match, Fabregas was inspired on the pitch, showing how to retain possession and how to prize open a defence by creating chances.
Post match we saw Fabregas waving to the Chelsea faithful and embracing his team-mates, tears in his eyes. It looks like the move is close to happening following speculation that he has given his team mates an emotional goodbye and said his thank you to the club where he has spent the last 4 and a half seasons.
To see such a player leave the English Premier League at the age of 31 with still a few more years left is such a shame, but for one I am grateful to have watched the former Spain international play at such a high level for so many years.
Do we fully recognize and appreciate the ability in which Fabregas possesses? He is potentially the most intelligent central midfielders in which we have seen grace the Premier League. His ability to open up defenses with one pass is simply world class, he would see passes that nobody around in the Premier League today would, perhaps only Paul Scholes of old would see. That is how highly we should rate Fabregas when it comes to talking about the best midfielders to grace the league.
When he first graced the pitch wearing the Arsenal shirt it was clear why manager Arsene Wenger rated the Spaniard so highly. This is a player who went into the heart of the Arsenal side following the invincible season, despite not being as successful as the likes of Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit and Gilberto Silva, Fabregas was a superstar in the Arsenal team for the next seven years.
Wearing the captain’s armband the young central midfielder took the burden of all the expectancy of the club on his shoulders, he led the club to a Champions League final, but found himself craving more success as this Arsenal team was in a period when they found success hard to come by.
For the 2011/12 season Fabregas found himself back where it all began for him as a footballer, Barcelona. This was a highly successful time for the Spanish giants so for them to pursue Fabregas as they did and get his signature, showed just how good the player was. During his time at Barcelona he won it all, Copa Del Rey, La Liga, FIFA World Club Cup, 2011 Supercopa de Espana and the UEFA Supercup.
He found his role change while under the leadership of Pep Guardiola, playing as an advanced play-maker and as a false number nine, integrating himself into a team alongside, Thierry Henry, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez. Fabregas was loved by the Spanish fans and his contributions to the Spanish National side were appreciated greatly.
Winning the World Cup and the European Championships twice for Spain was a fantastic achievement, alongside his club team-mates, Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets, Fabregas was as integral to this successful side as anyone else. His international career was a massive success he has 110 caps scoring 15 goals in this time. The next step for Fabregas was to return to England this time with Chelsea.
Fabregas was exceptional for Chelsea, that first season back in the Premier League under the management of Jose Mourinho. He was the deep-lying play-maker in this team and his contribution was key to the success of the side. He would win another league title when Antonio Conte took charge, again in this role alongside a midfield defensive runner.
On the ball Fabregas is exceptional, he plays integrate passes in a triangle, can go long, will dictate play centrally, takes the ball from his defense, everything that is needed to be a top class central midfielder. His style and elegance on the pitch will be a massive miss for not only Chelsea but for fans of watching this quality of football.
350 Premier League appearances is a great landmark and achievement for the Chelsea number 4, only Ryan Giggs has more Premier League assists than Fabregas who has 111 assists, this is an incredible achievement for the former Arsenal and Barcelona man.
When we talk about the great center midfielders Fabregas needs to be mentioned in the same sentence as Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard to name a few.
His contribution to the English game has been massive and despite not being the most workaholic of midfielders his ability on the ball must be considered among the top.
The Premier League’s loss is a massive gain for Ligue 1 should the projected move to As Monaco be finalized, they are gaining a player of the highest caliber even at this stage of his career.