Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri says Chelsea will have a big problem if Cesc Fabregas leaves in January. 

Sarri can hardly be surprised that the World Cup winner would be seeking new pastures in the next transfer window after only providing the Spaniard with one Premier League start this season.

How Fabregas fell down the pecking order at Chelsea: Five things to know…

  1. Before Sarri took over, Fabregas had averaged over 30 appearances per season in the Premier League.
  2. In Chelsea’s 2016-17 title-winning season the Spaniard provided a team-high 12 assists.
  3. Fabregas created more chances (91) than any other teammate in the 2017/18 season.
  4. The summer arrivals of Jorginho and Kovacic have seen him struggle for minutes under Sarri.
  5. Chelsea’s No.4 has started just one league game this season.

Despite hardly using the midfielder, Sarri insists he wants him to remain at Stamford Bridge: “In this position we have only two players, Jorginho and Fabregas, so for me it would be really a problem without Cesc,” Sarri told Sky Sports.

“I want him to stay, I don’t know the final decision of Cesc and the club of course.

“But for me, it’s very important and if Cesc will go I think that we need to buy another player, and it’s not easy because, technically, Cesc is a very important player.

“And I think that in the market it’s very difficult to find a player with his characteristics.”

Fabregas’ contract expires in the new year and some reports claim that the Spaniard is preparing to terminate his contract and leave next month.

Chelsea have a policy that constrains the length of contracts offered to players over 30. Sarri gave a diplomatic response when he was asked about the policy: “Oh, it depends. It depends on the single situation I think.

“It’s a rule and so we have to respect that.

“As you know very well the big problem is the duration of the new contracts. Because, as you know, over 30 years the club offers only one year to renew.

“And for a player of 31, it’s a big problem to sign a new contract for only one year. So the problem is only this.”

Fabregas’ role as Sarri’s Jorginho deputy has been clear during the club’s Europa League campaign. The deep-lying midfielder played at least 73 more passes than any other player in the group stage.

His 15 chances created in five appearances in the competition is more than Jorginho’s 11 in 18 Premier League games. Despite proving Fabregas’ unrivalled creativity from deep in isolation, the gulf in opposition quality should also be remembered.

Where could Fabregas go?

Manchester City have said they won’t be seeking any new signings in January, but if an opportunity presented itself they might reconsider that position.

City have lost two out of their last three games in the Premier League and seem to be struggling without midfield maestro Fernandinho who is still nursing an injury on the sidelines.

The two players, however, play slightly different roles: Fernandinho’s reading of the game and defensive output has been most sorely missed, Fabregas may not be able to provide that.

Even if he went to City, he could eventually find himself in the same position under former boss Pep Guardiola when the Brazilian returns, facing heavy competition for places in other positions in City’s side.

The Spaniard has also been linked to Ligue 1 side Monaco and Serie A giants AC Milan.

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