Cesc Fabregas has left Chelsea to join Thierry Henry’s Monaco, signing a three-and-a-half year deal.
The Spanish midfielder had been at Stamford Bridge since 2014, helping the club win two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and the 2015 League Cup, but appeared to give an emotional farewell to supporters when leaving the pitch in Chelsea’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest at the weekend.
Can Fabregas help Henry save Monaco’s Ligue 1 status? Five key things to know…
- Cesc Fabregas played 303 times for Arsenal between 2003 and 2011, helping the club win the 2005 FA Cup.
- After a trophy-laden three years with Barcelona, Fabregas then returned to England in 2014, joining Chelsea.
- The Spaniard clocked up 198 appearances for the Blues and won two Premier League titles with the club.
- Monaco are currently 19th in Ligue 1 having scored just 16 goals.
- Cesc Fabregas has recorded 111 assists in 350 Premier League games; only Ryan Giggs (162) has managed more in the competition’s history.
Fabregas appeared 198 times for Chelsea during his time at the club, but joins a Monaco side in desperate need of his vast experience, with the Principality side languishing in the Ligue 1 relegation zone.
Annonce Fabregas pic.twitter.com/JW2TWJJqBr
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) January 11, 2019
Chelsea have thanked the midfielder for his ‘wonderful service’ in a statement that read: “Cesc Fabregas has today completed a permanent transfer to Monaco.
“The midfielder’s switch to the Ligue 1 club brings the curtain down on his four-and-a-half year Chelsea career, a period in which he won four major trophies, including two Premier League titles.
“The Spaniard made 198 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 22 goals.
“We thank Cesc for his wonderful service and wish him the very best of luck for the next chapter in what has been a fantastic career.”
Meanwhile, Monaco vice president Vadim Vasilyev expressed his delight at the signing, telling the club’s official website: “We are very pleased to welcome to AS Monaco Cesc Fabregas, a world-class player and a great professional, whose arrival demonstrates the ambition of the club.
“This is obviously a very good technical reinforcement for the team but we are convinced that his experience at the highest level will bring a lot to our players on and off the field.”
Fabregas, who will wear the number 44 shirt, spoke of his excitement at joining a new project: “It is a great pleasure to join AS Monaco, a new project for me. The group is of quality with young players and a young coach.
“I’m here to help the team, I’m looking forward to starting, we have a great match to play in Marseille on Sunday. I am very excited.”
Who is the ideal Fabregas replacement for Chelsea?
Maurizio Sarri recently stressed that he would only be happy letting Fabregas leave Chelsea if he could sign an adequate replacement, highlighting the Spaniard as his only back-up for Jorginho in the deep-lying playmaker role.
So, who should the Blues be looking at to replace the 110-time Spanish international?
Given that he is currently plying his trade in Russia with Zenit St. Petersburg, Leandro Paredes would be a very attainable target for Chelse. The Argentinian has already played in footballing hotbeds such as Rome and Buenos Aires and is an archetypal Argentine No. 5, sitting at the base of midfield and recycling possession with great efficiency, while never shirking on his defensive duties. Pretty much everything Sarri asks from his deep-lying midfielder.
The price, the play-style and the availability make Paredes the optimal Cesc Fabregas deputy.
Realistic – Nicolo Barella
At just 21 years old, Nicolo Barella would certainly represent a great long-term investment for Chelsea. The Italy international is extremely adept at breaking up play and would provide a great screen in front of Sarri’s back four but may perhaps be an even better deputy for N’Golo Kanté.
Possessing a good eye for a pass; a quality that can only improve by learning from Jorginho. Cagliari are reluctant to sell and would demand a high fee for Barella, but given his age and ability, he would be well worth it for Sarri.
Wildcard – Adrien Rabiot
So, all the talk is that Adrien Rabiot is off to Barcelona at the end of the season, pending the expiry of his current contract. However, that deal is anything but done, meaning other clubs could still swoop in for the Frenchman.
If Chelsea were to make an unlikely move to land Rabiot, they would be getting a midfielder that has averaged 78.5 short passes per 90 minutes in Ligue 1 this season and has helped PSG to 13 major domestic honours during his time at the club. It might be a wildcard, but it would be an incredible piece of business.
Squawka Suggests – Marcelo Brozovic
Reports are suggesting Marcelo Brozovic is about to sign a new contract at Inter Milan – a contract that will have a €60m release clause. Brozovic has completed an average of 69.1 short passes per 90 minutes in Serie A this season, making him a perfectly capable midfield metronome, while his incredible work-rate was lauded throughout the 2018 World Cup – a quality that is held in high regard by Sarri.
The Croatian even impressed Lionel Messi with his innovative way to counter Luis Suarez’s under-the-wall free-kick when the Serie A side made the trip to Camp Nou in October 2018.
Brozovic, 26, has been at Inter since 2015 and has made 132 appearances for the club to date but has often been the scapegoat for fans when things go wrong. Could this persuade the Croatian to swap the San Siro for Stamford Bridge?