A serial winner, Cesc Fabregas has been fortunate enough, and talented enough, to play in some of the best teams in the world throughout his career.
The Spaniard has been a regular fixture at the top-level since the age of 16, when Arsène Wenger gave him his debut in a League Cup tie against Rotherham way back in 2003.
In the intervening years, Fàbregas grew from a boy into a man at Arsenal, also being given the captain’s armband by Wenger, who saw a little extra something in the Catalonian.
Having trained at Barçelona’s La Masia youth academy from a young age, alongside Gerard Piqué and Lionel Messi, Fàbregas was a player who certainly had all of the tools to make it right to the very top.
After returning to his boyhood club in 2011, to play under Pep Guardiola, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who could have predicted that the midfielder would be leaving the club in 2014 to join José Mourinho at Chelsea. But that’s the thing, life has a funny way of working out.
In his debut season, Fàbregas played a pivotal role in bringing the Premier League title back to Stamford Bridge for the first time in five years. The Spaniard chipped in with 18 assists, just two shy of Thierry Henry’s record of 20 in a single season.
However, despite the success he found in his first season at the club, Fàbregas hasn’t been able to reach the heights of that campaign. The 2015/16 season was one to forget for all involved at Chelsea, and Fàbregas certainly wasn’t the only player to not perform to their capable level that year.
Yet, despite this, Fàbregas has found it very hard to be given consistent opportunities by Antonio Conte this season, with the Italian coach generally preferring a midfield pairing of N’Golo Kanté and Nemanja Matić.
Although finding opportunities few and far between, however, Fàbregas has still been able to provide nine assists this season, with most coming from off-the-bench cameo appearances. Despite not being a starter, the Spaniard has yet again played a key role in Chelsea’s push for a fifth Premier League title.
In a season without European football to contend with, rotation and sharing the minutes on the pitch was always going to a challenge for Conte, who has been forced into choosing between the more defensive-minded Matić, or the more attack-oriented Fàbregas.
Generally, Conte tends to play the Spaniard against teams that sit with a low-block, in the knowledge that Chelsea are unlikely to be overrun in midfield by these sides. The Italian seems to be more concerned, however, playing Fàbregas against the teams that look to take the game to Chelsea.
With Chelsea having already booked Champions League qualification for next season, Conte will no doubt need to numbers in order to rotate his squad more, with fatigue almost undoubtedly going to be a worry.
Ever since the start of this season, Fàbregas has been heavily linked with moves away from the club, with AC Milan being the club most heavily reported to be interested in the midfielder. After apparently having their offer in January turned down, the Italian club are reportedly looking to make another swoop in the summer to finally bring Fàbregas to Italy.
Chelsea would be foolish to let go of Fàbregas so soon, considering the talent that he clearly possesses, and the obvious need for more numbers next season.
Although they could go out and buy another midfielder, Fàbregas is a player who is settled in London, who enjoys playing for the club and who is still a very talented player.
With Chelsea no doubt set to be looking to once more win the league and Champions League next season, Conte will need as many world class players in his squad as possible.
At 30, Fàbregas is still yet to drop off, and although not having the athleticism of some of his peers, he has got a certain finesse and touch and many in the modern game lack.