Cesc Fabregas´s future was thrown into a cloud of smoke last night when he was dropped for Chelsea´s match against West Ham.
Although there´s a new manager at Stamford Bridge in Antonio Conte, Fabregas has been a key part of Chelsea´s squad since arriving in 2014, recording 19 assists in his first season and missing only one league match in 2015-16.
It seemed odd, then, that Conte would bench the World Cup and European Championship winner, instead selecting N´Golo Kante, Oscar and Nemanja Matic as his midfield players.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay4
It didn´t take long for rumours linking Fabregas with a move away from west London to surface. The Mirror carried a report claiming he has been offered to Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, with Conte making it clear during pre-season that the Spaniard will form a part of his plans.
But what about the player? Having not even come off the bench against the Hammers, it would make sense for Fabregas to plan his exit from Chelsea, especially so considering the transfer window closes in just over a fortnight.
Well, Chelsea fans will be pleased to know that the 29-year-old is ready to fight for his place in the starting line-up.
That is according to Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol, who tweeted Fabregas´ stance on Tuesday afternoon.
Solhekol wrote: "Cesc Fabregas to Real Madrid, PSG or Juventus? Fabregas is fully focused on playing for Chelsea and working under new manager Antonio Conte."
That will come as pleasant news to Chelsea supporters who were fearing Fabregas´ exit. Though his best years are beyond him, the former Barcelona man remains one of the most creative players in the squad and is a proven winner.
Conte was delighted with Fabregas' reaction to his benching and seemed to suggest that he has no plans to sell the Spain international.
"Cesc is Chelsea's player, and I'm happy about him, with his attitude and behaviour,¨ the Italian said, per Sky Sports.
"He must know from before that when we are a great team like Chelsea it can happen that I have to take a decision before the game to choose a starting XI."
Conte, who was in an ecstatic mood after Diego Costa´s late winner, admitted that nobody is safe from being axed if his game plan demands a certain setup.
"That can happen that Fabregas is not in the starting XI, but it can happen for all the players,¨the Chelsea boss continued. ¨It's important to see always the right attitude. Because we must fight this season and it's important to stay together in every situation.
"But then the shape can improve and can change all the situations. Now I took this decision but the next game I can change or not."