For the first time, Cesc Fabregas has gone on record stating his desire to someday return to Arsenal.
In an interview with The Guardian's Sid Lowe, the Barcelona midfielder was very up front and honest about his departure from the Gunners and his general appreciation of the club. He even went so far as to say that he'd welcome a role with the club down the line, no matter the capacity:
Arsenal is in my heart and always will be. It was important for me to leave the right way. I think the fans understood. I don't know if I'll have the opportunity to go back and play there one day, or maybe after football. The club's like a family so even if it wasn't as a coach, I'm sure they'd give me the chance to play a role. It's a club that is always going to be there and will always open its doors to me.
UPDATE: Friday, Oct. 25, at 1:25 p.m. BST
Arsene Wenger responded to Fabregas' interview on Friday, quoted saying the following by ESPN FC:
I hope he is right that he will come back one day. It shows that he has kept fond memories of this club and I am happy that players who have his intelligence and knowledge will come back some day. I will watch them from up there somewhere.
---End of Update---
Should he return to the club, Fabregas would be traveling down the same path Thierry Henry and Mathieu Flamini have in recent seasons. Henry returned on loan from the New York Red Bulls in 2012, and Flamini moved back to the Emirates on a free transfer this past summer.
In what capacity would Cesc Fabregas most likely return to the club?
If Fabregas was to don the Arsenal shirt again, it would arguably be the biggest return yet.
Fabregas has become a beloved figure at Arsenal, even after his move to Barcelona in the summer of 2011. For so long, he was the biggest symbol of "The Arsenal Way" with his style on the ball and how he grew as a player right in front of the supporters' eyes. Gooners watched as a 16-year-old prodigy, who arrived in 2003, blossomed into one of the best midfielders in the world.
In total, Fabregas appeared in 212 Premier League and 54 Champions League matches with Arsenal.
No matter what role he would assume, Gooners would be thrilled to see Fabregas re-join the club in a professional capacity. Based on his comments, it sounds like Fabregas would be thrilled as well.