Cesc Fabregas has been widely tipped to return to the Premier League this summer, but he doesn’t appear to have as many options as he may have envisaged.
The Spain international left Arsenal in August 2011, when he realised his dream of returning to his first club Barcelona. A lack of silverware in the English capital was the catalyst for the midfielder heading back to Catalonia, and this seemed to be a shrewd move when he collected a La Liga title, a Copa del Rey, a UEFA Super Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup in his first two years.
However, Fabregas has failed to establish himself as an automatic pick in the Barcelona starting eleven, and although Xavi and Andres Iniesta are 34 and 30 respectively, the former Gunner has been told he no longer figures in the future of the Camp Nou club, and he is now being widely tipped to return to the Premier League for a fee of around £35million.
Although his former club have first refusal on the 27-year-old and the player is believed to be open to a return to the Emirates Stadium, it has been suggested that Arsene Wenger will not be making a move for his ex-skipper. The French coach paid a club record £42.5million for Mesut Ozil last year, and he would now rather spend his money on a world-class striker ahead of next season.
Manchester City have signed several players from Arsenal in recent years, and there have been rumours Fabregas could link up with them at the Etihad Stadium. But a number of local journalists in the North West, including Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail, insist the champions are not interested. This could, however, change if Manuel Pellegrini decides to call Yaya Toure’s bluff and sell the influential Ivory Coast international to the highest bidder in the coming weeks.
Under David Moyes Manchester United made no secret of their desire to sign Fabregas last summer, but having since signed Juan Mata from Chelsea and with Shinji Kagawa and Wayne Rooney also capable of playing in the number 10 role, Louis van Gaal, who will succeed the sacked Scot next season, may have other ideas. And even if the Old Trafford giants were to register an interest, they are no longer in a position to offer the midfielder UEFA Champions League football.
Liverpool, who will take United’s place at the top table of European football next term, have also been linked with Fabregas. Indeed, some tabloids made the Reds favourites for his signature in reports earlier this week. Brendan Rodgers has cash to spend this summer, but the player may need convincing that their impressive 2013-14 campaign was not a one-off and that the Merseyside club are truly on the verge of recapturing their glory years of the 70s and 80s.
An obvious move for Fabregas would be Chelsea, especially now that the legendary Frank Lampard has confirmed he has left the club after 13 years. However, it has been widely reported on Wednesday that Jose Mourinho has no plans to buy the player, and will instead aim to lure either Koke from Atletico Madrid or former United youngster Paul Pogba, now of Juventus. And with Oscar and Eden Hazard already options for the Stamford Bridge club in the advanced midfield role favoured by the Spaniard, there is no real desperation to further congest this area.
For the time being, Fabregas looks certain to put his club career on hold as he focusses entirely on the World Cup Finals. He already helped his national side win this tournament four years ago in South Africa, which is sandwiched by successive European Championship successes in 2008 and 2012. With a pedigree such as that, and with his best years still ahead of him, it wouldn’t be a surprise if a good showing in Brazil makes the likes of Mourinho, Wenger, Pellegrini and co reach for the phone before they see a rival club nip in and take the talented midfielder.