Cesc Fabregas’s time at Chelsea could possibly be up, with rumours emerging of a deal to send him on a two-year loan at AC Milan. The deal would present Milan with the option to buy Fabregas, while only paying 40% of his wages for the duration of the loan.
The former Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder has been a relative afterthought for Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, starting him just once in the Premier League this season, when Chelsea were blown away by Arsenal 3-0. Fabregas did impress in a cameo appearance away at Watford, providing the match-winning assist, but will struggle to find a regular starting place in the side as Conte focuses on finding the right system for his new team.
Chelsea have lined up in a 3-5-2 formation for the last few games, a system which one could make a case for Fabregas’ inclusion so long as there is sufficient cover behind him. Instead, Conte has tweaked the system slightly to make it a 3-4-3, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Pedro or Willian operating in the attacking position in midfield where Fabregas thrives. The alternative would be to slot him into one of the central two spots, but the partnership of Matic and Kante in those positions seems untouchable.
A player of Fabregas’ quality will not be content with playing off the bench, and even though Conte has already stated his desire to keep the Spaniard at the club, his actions prove he does not value him as highly as Fabregas needs. Fabregas is still one of the world’s best playmakers when used in a suitable set-up, with recent statistics showing he has attempted the most forward passes in the Premier League since the start of the 2015/16 season. A move to Italy would mean a drop in tempo, allowing Fabregas the time on the ball he needs to influence games.
The move would be a replacement signing for AC Milan, as they have lost Ricardo Montolivo to a serious knee injury. The Rossoneri are awaiting a takeover by a Chinese consortium, and such a high-profile signing would be a clear signal of their intent. Both clubs will be involved in huge domestic action this coming weekend, as Chelsea welcome Manchester United to Stamford Bridge while Milan host defending champions Juventus at the San Siro.