Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has revealed just how surprised he was when Francesc Fabregas made it clear he wanted to move to Stamford Bridge last summer, with the Spain international having been a rival of The Special One on two different occasions.
Fabregas returned to London in the form of a relatively surprising transfer to Chelsea in 2014, breaking Arsenal hearts with his willingness to become part of the Blues’ setup. Prior to his move to Spain in 2011 the midfielder had become a fan favourite at the Emirates Stadium, and so it was with a large degree of hurt that Gunners supporters watched him join forces with the enemy.
Yet now it appears that Mourinho too was taken back by Fabregas’ desired move, having seen him play against his sides whilst in charge of Chelsea the first time and later for Barcelona against his Real Madrid team.
"I never felt that he would work with me because when I was at Chelsea he was with a rival, Arsenal. When I was with Real Madrid he was with a rival, Barcelona," Mourinho said in his pre-match press conference ahead of the Champions League round of 16 second-leg against Paris Saint-Germain.
"It was quite unexpected for me, the fact that he wanted to come to England and to Chelsea."
If anything now Mourinho will be thanking his stars that Fabregas opted not to allow his allegiances to Arsenal get in the way of a Stamford Bridge move, with the 27-year-old having proved that he is still more than capable of running the show in the middle of the park.
The pass-master has struck up a brilliant partnership with Nemanja Matic in the centre of Chelsea’s midfield and along with Diego Costa he’s been one of the best Premier League signings made last summer.
Such facts have given Arsenal fans cause to be fairly peeved with Arsene Wenger for his decision not to try harder to ensure his former captain returned to north London. The Frenchman was linked with such action before Fabregas signed for Mourinho, and one has to wonder if he started the race with the upper-hand thanks to his healthy relationship with the player.
Having made 15 assists and 53 key passes in the Premier League alone this year Fabregas has put any critics from his time at Barcelona to bed, and, as a direct result, Wenger’s loss has become Mourinho’s gain.
If Chelsea are crowned English champions come the end of the season then the introduction of the £30 million man will have played an essential role - his move back to British shores is a transfer that’s effectiveness is surpassed only by it’s surprise factor, it would seem.
Chelsea and Arsenal fans, what do you think to Fabregas' move to Stamford Bridge? Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments box below...