In perhaps the best value-for-money acquisition of the summer window thus far, Chelsea snapped up former Arsenal captain for a cool £30million in June.
The Spain international’s quality is undoubted, having plied his trade with Barcelona over the past three seasons and amassed 35 goals and 77 assists thus far in his Premier League career.
We at Football FanCast have high hopes for the 27-year-old’s return to the English top flight, in fact, such high hopes, we believe Fabregas can turn the Blues into Premier League champions next season. And just to prove it, we’ve listed the FIVE ways in which he can transform Chelsea into England’s most dominant force.
Boasting a surprisingly poor strike-force of Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o, it’s no secret that Chelsea struggled to provide a consistent goal threat last season.
The misfiring trio netted just 19 times between them, and the problem was further exacerbated by Frank Lampard’s sharp decline throughout the campaign and Brazil international Oscar struggling for end product after the turn of 2014.
Cesc Fabregas isn’t quite the Lampard successor that many have billed him to be, but the Spaniard will offer a consistent supply of goals from the middle of the park, having bagged 42 goals in 151 appearances for Barcelona. He’s already netted his first strike for the Blues in a pre-season friendly:
Here’s a look at the 27 year-old’s Top Ten goals for the La Liga giants:
Of course, more than his goal-getting, Cesc Fabregas is better famed as a provider, racking up an incredible 98 assists during seven seasons in the Arsenal first team and an equally proficient haul of 48 set-ups in 151 appearances for Barcelona.
On the other hand, at Chelsea last season, no player bettered Eden Hazard’s seven assists, which is exceptionally low compared to the Premier League average.
As you can see below, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs all had multiple representatives higher than the Belgium international in the top flight’s assists charts, who ranked in at 15th:
No doubt, creating goals is what Fabregas does best. Here’s a look at some of the Spain international’s top assists throughout his career:
Chelsea absolutely destroyed their title rivals last season, losing only to Everton against all top five opposition.
But the Blues fell short against the Premier League’s lesser sides, especially those with well-organised, double-bank defences, such as Crystal Palace, Stoke City, West Ham, Sunderland and Norwich City, all of whom either drew or won against the west Londoners last season.
The acquisition of Cesc Fabregas however should remedy that in abundance. Unlike Chelsea’s other central midfielders who favour work-rate over guile, Fabregas has the technique and intelligence to break-down resilient opposition.
Just take a look at his passing and creating statistics per match last season in comparison to Chelsea’s other midfielders:
As you can see, Fabregas is ranked either first or second on all fronts. Here’s a look at Fabregas splitting defences with the ball:
Chelsea say west ham park the bus LOOOL pic.twitter.com/M5P3ryXoUi
— Ahmet 父 Hammer (@ahmet_tempz) January 30, 2014
Chelsea’s attritional philosophy was one of the major talking points of last season, with regular debates over allegations of ‘bus parking’ and of course, ’19th century football’.
But the arrival of Cesc Fabregas allows Jose Mourinho to branch out somewhat and encourage a more progressive brand of football, especially against weaker opposition where the Spain international is expected to partner Nemanja Matic in deep midfield.
The 27 year-old has enough quality not to be considered a defensive liability, and far from what his wiry frame might suggest, averaged a respectable 1.6 tackles per match during his final season with Arsenal, as detailed below:
The introduction of Fabregas to Chelsea’s engine room gives them the technical quality to adopt a more ambitious style of play next season, whilst maintaining Mourinho’s organised ethos.
Perhaps the most important service Cesc Fabregas offers Chelsea is his versatility.
As previously stated, against lesser opposition he’s expected to take a deep-lying role alongside Nemanja Matic, as he’s lined up during the majority of the Blues’ pre-season friendlies.
But in the bigger fixtures where Jose Mourinho continually remains supreme, the Spaniard will take the No.10 role, adding extra protection to the midfield and providing quality going forward.
It’s something Jose Mourinho has already commented on:
Jose Mourinho – “I see Fabregas everywhere because he can play everywhere. He can play as a No.10 and score and also a No.8.” #CFC
— BlueTweetsFC™ (@BlueTweetsFC) August 2, 2014
…and gives the Portuguese vital options in the middle of the park.