Cesc Fabregas has confirmed that Arsenal turned down the chance to sign him before he was snapped up by Chelsea.
The 27-year-old has completed his long-awaited switch to Stamford Bridge in a deal believed to be worth around £27 million having put pen to paper on a five-year contract. He will wear the number four shirt.
Arsenal had the option to secure the services of their former midfielder thanks to a clause inserted into his contract when he left the Emirates Stadium in 2011, but now Fabregas has confirmed that they decided against doing that.
A statement on his official Facebook page read: "Firstly I would like to thank everyone at FC Barcelona where I enjoyed 3 wonderful years. It was my childhood club and I will always be proud and honoured that I had a chance to play for such a great team.
"I do feel that I have unfinished business in the Premier League and now is the right time for me to return. Yes, everyone knows that Arsenal had the first option to sign me. They decided not to take this option and therefore it wasn't meant to be. I wish them well in the future."
Manchester United were heavily linked with Fabregas last year, but reports earlier this month confirmed that Chelsea had jumped to the front of the queue for his signature.
He continued: "I considered all the other offers very carefully and I firmly believe that Chelsea is the best choice. 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.
"It was extremely important to me that this transfer was completed before the World Cup so that my mind will only be focused on hopefully helping my country try to retain the trophy."
Fabregas left Arsenal to join Barcelona in 2011 in a deal worth around £26 million, but his return home never fully worked out. He initially struggled to dislodge Xavi and Andres Iniesta at the heart of Barcelona's midfield, while last season he was pushed further forward but that experiment didn't work out and he was booed by his own fans.
For Chelsea, Fabregas represents their first major signing of the summer with plenty more to come. A deal for Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa is believed to have already been completed, while Filipe Luis and Tiago could also follow from the Vicente Calderon. When Thibaut Courtois is also thrown into the mix as he prepares to return from this three-year loan spell in Spain, Chelsea are shaping up as early favourites for the Premier League title next season, and are currently joint favourites at 2/1.
Following their ultimately disappointing campaign last time around, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has acted decisively to improve his squad, and with Frank Lampard departing, Fabregas could slot seamlessly into his midfield.
Arsenal meanwhile, could come to regret letting one of their best players in recent years fall into the arms of a title rival.
Barcelona have all but sealed the arrival of Ivan Rakitic from Sevilla in order to compensate for the loss of Fabregas, who will surely leave the Nou Camp once more with a sense of unfinished business.
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