Cesc Fabregas, one day ahead of his Spain side opening their bid to repeat as World Cup champions, sealed his club footballing future by joining English Premier League squad Chelsea after his former team, Arsenal, spurned him.
The Spanish international spent most of his professional football life in the Arsenal system, joining the traditional English powerhouse in 2003 at age 16. He first joined the Arsenal youth academy, then made his first-team debut in October of that same year when he entered a League Cup tie against Rotherham United.
At 16, Fabregas became the youngest player in the history of Arsenal’s first team.
But when Fabregas departed Arsenal after the 2010-2011 campaign, returning to his hometown Spanish club Barcelona, his original English club had a deal to re-acquire him if and when he decided to return to England. With Barcelona cleaning house after the latest La Liga season, Fabregas found himself on the move.
But even with the exclusive right to sign Fabregas, Arsenal and Manager Arsene Wenger looked the other way.
“Yes, everyone knows that Arsenal had the first option to sign me,” said Fabregas in a statement on Thursday from Brazil, where he was preparing for Spain’s opening World Cup match. “They decided not to take this option and therefore it wasn’t meant to be. I wish them well in the future.”
The result was that Fabregas took an offer from Arsenal’s London rival Chelsea and when the 2014-2015 Premier League season opens, Cesc Fabregas will be wearing a blue jersey at Stamford Bridge.
The transfer fee paid by Chelsea to Barcelona is reported at £27 million — about $46 million. But reportedly, Arsenal will collect £5 million ($8.5 million) of that due to an agreement with Barcelona as part of Fabregas’ 2011 transfer.
“I considered all the other offers very carefully and I firmly believe that Chelsea is the best choice,” said Fabregas. “They match my footballing ambitions with their hunger and desire to win trophies. They have an amazing squad of players and an incredible manager. I am fully committed to this team and I can’t wait to start playing.”
The Jose Mourhino-managed club finished third in the Premier League in 2013-2014, three points ahead of Arsenal, to gain automatic entry in the group stage of the upcoming UEFA Champions League tournament. As fourth-place finishers, Arsenal must survive a playoff round to continue into the Champions League group stage.
Cesc Fabregas and Spain open their bid to defend their 2010 World Cup title Friday when they face the Netherlands in Salvador, Brazil, at 2:30 pm US Eastern Time, in a rematch of the contentious World Cup final of four years ago in South Africa.