Mourinho’s team building and reshaping of the squad continues with the signing of Cesc Fabregas. At first glance, that seems wrong on a number of intuitions and levels. First, there’s his association with both our rivals, Arsenal and at European level Barcelona, two clubs with very different philosophies to those employed by “the special one”. Then there his rivalry with club legend Frank Lampard, which has been evident in the time they shared together on the field. Then there’s the players relationship with the manager himself, which never has seemed particularly warm and fuzzy. All in all, it just seems like one of the craziest transfers around and perhaps one of the best roll of the dice by the special one, as we look ahead how Fabregas would fit into the Chelsea starting lineup.
Will he make the squad better? Most Certainly. While Fabregas was a big disappointment in Barcelona after being one of the top player in the premier league under Arsene Wenger, he was still a good enough player to be a first choice for more than one of Europe’s elite teams. To start with, the tactical evolution of the player since his introduction to Arsenal’s first team has been no less the extra ordinary. Fabregas has operated as a Central Midfielder next to Gilberto Silva in a 4-4-2, he has played as the creative outlet and as a creative mid fielder in the 2008/09 season in a 4-2-3-1 system. Moving to Barcelona, Fabregas was pushed further up the field to play either to the left flank or up front in the center forward position, as the trio of Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta occupied the Midfield region. It is clearly evident that Fabregas will bring versatility, experience and the killer pass for Chelsea linked ‘Diego costa’ or one ‘Fernando Torres’ to thrive on.
There can be number of positions in which Fabregas can operate, with the attacking trio usually occupied by Eden Hazard, Willian and Oscar, who took their time to jell into a cohesive, attacking unit supporting a lone striker. This means that Fabregas will be pushed back to his native position of playing as the Defensive Midfielder or a Central Midfielder along-side the midfield enforcer Nemanja Matic.
If Cesc, is to play as in the midfielder pivot alongside Nemanja Matic, the need for him to be defensively outstanding is not great. With two such relentlessly hardworking, tactically disciplined players in front of him are Oscar and Willian, and with Nemanja Matic sweeping up possession behind him, Fabregas will be at almost total liberty to play his most natural game, getting the ball forward quickly and making runs deep towards the goal. Fabregas may be looked at as the potential heir to Lampard’s spot in midfield, but he certainly won’t be his replacement. The Spanish International lacks the physical ability of the Chelsea legend, instead building his game around excellent vision, passing and a goal scoring prowess.
If Cesc, is to play as alongside Hazard and Willian, he can very well operate in the region behind the striker too. Having experience and quality from his Arsenal and Barcelona days, Fabregas has the magic foot to deliver the defense splitting passes for the strikers to thrive upon. Moreover his skills with the long balls would make him perfect starting point for counter attacks, something Chelsea’s speedy wingers would love to take advantage of .
In signing the Spaniard not only has Mourinho acquired a player with wonderfully multifunctional skill set, but also one very used to being played in a great number of positions across a season which “the special one” loves. Therefore the inclusion of Fabregas has been a blessing even if in disguise, and perhaps we can see a more fluid and pressing Chelsea in the season to come.