Cesc Fabregas has the ability to become the new Frank Lampard at Chelsea, according to Jose Mourinho, just a day after saying the Spaniard could not replace him.
Speaking after a friendly victory over Ferencvaros, the Stamford Bridge boss stated his view that the man he signed from Barcelona in a £30million deal this summer is the natural successor to occupy the role that Lampard did for so long.
“Frank is the history of the club, history nobody can forget,” he told reporters.
“Fabregas is the future; history is history but the future is more important at the moment. My opinion, and the opinion of my players, is that Fabregas is the right player to occupy that central position in midfield.”
Fans not exactly pleased
Lampard’s 13-year stay with the Blues came to an end this summer after he could not agree a contract extension to remain at Chelsea. He has instead signed for new MLS franchise New York City FC, but agreed to join Manchester City on loan for six months as the new team does not have its first match until next March.
Seeing Lampard at City may not be a comfortable sight for Chelsea fans but his departure and the arrival of Fabregas have some interesting parallels. The 27-year-old’s move to the Blues caused some anger in north London, as a number of Arsenal fans declared their former captain’s transfer an act of betrayal after saying, more than once, that he wouldn’t want to play for another team in the Premier League other than the Gunners.
However, also like Lampard’s move, it made perfect sense for Fabregas to join his once fierce rivals. Manchester City’s owners also jointly own NYCFC with MLB team the New York Yankees and having him do nothing for six months before everything gets underway would be just plain silly.
Manchester City could use his experience and expertise in midfield as they look to defend their Premier League title and Lampard stays fit and sharp without having to step down in quality.
Fabregas all but admitted that he wanted to go back to Arsenal once he had decided to leave Barcelona, but revealed that Arsene Wenger told him in a meeting that his former club would not be taking up the first option they had on him, which was written into the deal that took him to Camp Nou in 2011.
Arsenal’s manager spent a club-record £42million to land Mesut Özil last summer and the German World Cup winner is undoubtedly going to be the main creative force in the Gunners’ team – Wenger decided he couldn’t have both.
Once Chelsea got interested it made perfect sense for Fabregas to opt for them; deprived of his first choice, he still joins a club where he will almost certainly challenge for every trophy and gets a tidy wage thrown in. No brainer really.