Chelsea have taken up pole position in the race to sign Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas. The Telegraph reports that Jose Mourinho is desperate the land the Spanish player in a deal that could cost £30 million. They say:
Chelsea are favourites to sign Cesc Fabregas for £30 million from Barcelona
This revelation follows the news that Frank Lampard will be leaving Chelsea when his contract expires, having been at the club for 13 years. His departure will leave a gap in midfield that Fabregas could fill. His versatility means he can play either a deep lying or attacking role. At only 27 he could be seen as a long term prospect, while his time at Arsenal means he would count as a home grown player in Financial Fair Play rules.
Talks between the two clubs and the player are apparently in advanced stages according to Marca, who suggest that Fabregas may have already passed a medical with the London club. The same source also reveals that the 27 year old favours Chelsea over rivals Manchester United, due to the lack of Champions League football at Old Trafford and the fact the side faces a huge rebuilding task.
Although Arsenal have first option on Fabregas it appears that Arsene Wenger has no interest in bringing the talented midfielder back to The Emirates. This may be because of the fact that The Gunners already have a host of players who can play in a similar position, including Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey.
The North London club have more pressing transfer targets such as striker, defensive midfield and in defence, making a huge transfer offer and high wages in excess of £100,000 a week a massive investment that could be spent elsewhere.
Fabregas spent his youth career at the Catalan club before joining Arsenal aged 16. He then spent eight years in The Premier League as a vital part of Arsene Wenger’s side before moving back to Barcelona in 2011 for £35 million plus add-ons.
Despite playing for his boyhood club and generally seen as a long term replacement for Xavi, Barcelona are reported to be willing to let Fabregas leave for Chelsea in order to fund a number of transfers under their new manager.