Cesc Fabregas showed why he’ll be a man in demand this summer, but also underlined to Chelsea exactly why they need to keep the mercurial Spaniard.
Fabregas’ future has taken up more than its fair share of column inches over the past eight or nine months.
It’s fair to say the little Spaniard has taken time to adjust to Antonio Conte’s methods, and given Monday was only his 24th Premier League appearance of the season, the player could be forgiven for seeking a move elsewhere.
With the likes of AC Milan, Manchester United and Liverpool heavily linked, it could be quite tempting for the player to seek a move elsewhere. At Chelsea chances are limited; but at any of these other three clubs, he’d have a far greater chance of becoming the hub of the side.
If you imagine Fabregas at any of his three suitors, you could make a case for how the midfielder, now 30, could slot into and benefit each of these sides.
But afforded the chance to shine in Monday night’s encounter against Middlesbrough due to an injury to double Player of the Year, N’Golo Kante, the little Spaniard did not disappoint.
Playing in the holding midfield role alongside Nemanja Matic, Fabregas was allowed time and space to drift forward by Middlesbrough’s ever-retreating backline.
And time and again Fabregas was allowed to unlock Middlesbrough’s defence with a plethora of key passes that simply bypassed the Teessiders’ static rearguard.
The role very much suited him. And boy, did he thrive…
The Spaniard – like so many of the world’s top stars – makes the game look easy. Before you scoff at the claim, Fabregas – with two assists against Boro – now has 10 assists to his name this season.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 8, 2017
Only Gylfi Sigurdsson and Christian Eriksen (both 12) as well as assist leader Kevin De Bruyne (15) are ahead of him. And but for some Brad Guzan heroics on Monday night – as well as the frame of the peppered Boro goal – that figure would have surely been more….
Add into the mix that Fabregas’ tally comes in a total of just over 1100 minutes of action; assist king De Bruyne has clocked up 2623 minutes by comparison…
Now, just imagine what his assists tally would read had he played more regularly under Conte….
If reports are to be believed, Conte wants Chelsea to bring in another steely midfield anchor to play alongside Kante next season. The likes of Franck Kessie of Atalanta and Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayoko have both been linked; both would make excellent additions and fit into the Chelsea system to perfection.
But regardless of the Italian brings to Stamford Bridge this summer, Fabregas can still very much play a role for Chelsea as his stylish display against Boro exemplified.
When Conte’s men complete their ascent to Premier League champions, the role of Fabregas may be overlooked by many. But surely in Conte’s mind, he’s seen more than enough to give his little magician a bigger role next term.
So forget United; forget Liverpool; forget Milan – Chelsea need to ensure their sexy little Cesc stays exactly where he is…