Some high-profile names have seen their futures’ come into doubt in recent weeks.
First, Bastian Schweinsteiger was demoted to Manchester United’s reserve team by Jose Mourinho. On Saturday, Joe Hart was dropped by Pep Guardiola.
And Cesc Fabregas became the latest big-name player to be benched by his manager.
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The Spaniard didn't come off the bench for Chelsea in their 2-1 win against West Ham on Monday, with new signing N’Golo Kante, Nemanja Matic and Oscar forming Antonio Conte’s preferred midfield.
Given that Fabregas missed only one Premier League game last season - four the year before - his exclusion from the starting line-up came as a surprise. But Spaniard outlet Sport think they know the reason.
They claim that the 29-year-old is “seriously contemplating” whether to leave Stamford Bridge. That’s not overly shocking, especially considering Conte has seemingly shown his cards by benching him.
What is surprising, though, is that Real Madrid are being lined up as a possible destination.
Sport add that Fabregas’ representatives have been in contact with Madrid president Florentino Perez in a bid to instigate talks over a potential transfer.
Fabregas spent three seasons at Los Blancos’ main rival, Barcelona, but he’s never been afraid to upset one of his former clubs before.
The Spaniard became a despised figure among Arsenal fans, who watched him for eight seasons, when he signed for London rivals Chelsea in 2014.
Two years on and Fabregas is still booed whenever he returns to the Emirates Stadium. Although he wouldn’t reach the level of resentment Luis Figo received when he swapped the Camp Nou for the Bernabeu, Barcelona fans still wouldn’t be happy to see him in a white shirt.
There was talk that the Chelsea midfielder had attracted interest from Juventus, who have money to spend after selling Paul Pogba for a world-record £89 million fee, but those rumours have come to nothing.
Still got some in the tank
Though his best years are behind him, it’s worth remembering that he is just two seasons removed from recording 19 assists in a league season.
And given that he is a proven winner - Fabregas has won a World Cup and two European Championships, as well as titles in Spain and England - it might be worth keeping him around until his form noticeably deteriorates.
Unless, of course, Madrid are genuinely interested in signing the former Arsenal man, and are prepared to pay a sizeable fee to take him off Conte’s hands. Los Blancos missed out on Paul Pogba and Andre Gomes this summer, and there are worse alternatives than Fabregas.