The Spanish midfielder sealed his return to the Premier League before jetting off to the World Cup with Spain, with Jose Mourinho’s Blues ultimately winning the chase for his signature.
Arsenal were linked with a move to re-sign their former captain and fan hero, but reports suggest Arsene Wenger opted against doing so – even though the World Cup winner was available for £30m.
Flamini played alongside the classy playmaker during his first spell in north London before leaving to join AC Milan in 2008 – three years prior to Fabregas’ switch to Barcelona.
The Frenchman – who made his Emirates Stadium comeback last year – says that, although he accepts his old playing partner’s decision, it’s disappointing to see him in Chelsea’s squad and not Arsenal’s:
“I had an amazing time with him at Arsenal and he stayed a very close friend of mine,” he told Goal.
“I’m a bit disappointed that he’ll be playing with Chelsea rather than us, but I respect his decision.
“That’s football, and I’m very happy for him because I’m sure that if he’s moving back it’s because he wanted it.
“It will be very strange to play against him, and it won’t be easy.”