Cesc Fabregas is open to the idea of becoming one of Jose Mourinho's top signings at Chelsea this summer, according to reports on Wednesday.
Matt Hughes of The Times (subscription required) reports that Fabregas has yet to hear from Roman Abramovich's club, but would welcome the offer having been acrimoniously shown the door by Barcelona.
And despite the Spanish international's emotional attachment to former club Arsenal, he would be prepared to play for their London rivals.
However, Fabregas' World Cup team-mate Santi Cazorla has urged the midfielder to turn back the clock and rejoin the Emirates club.
John Drayton of the Mail Online quotes the player speaking to Spanish press about Fabregas, saying he is valued more by the English media than he is in Spain:
I’ve read that he could go to Chelsea but I’d prefer him to come to Arsenal because he’s a great player and they really love him there. [...]
I don’t think there’s a big difference between Cesc’s performances in the Premier League and La Liga. His statistics are great at Barcelona but he’s not valued the same as in England. There’s no difference in his numbers, he’s adapted perfectly to both leagues.
Fabregas has been nothing like the failure some might think he has been at Barcelona and has been used as a scapegoat by fans of the Catalan club after a troubled season.
The player hit nine goals and provided 14 assists for Barcelona this season in La Liga and Europe, per WhoScored.com, despite having to come off the bench numerous times in his 45 appearances.
Despite Fabregas being open to a move to Chelsea, Ian Herbert of The Independent believes Jose Mourinho might not fancy the player:
Sergi Font of Marca writes that Manchester United and Chelsea lead the race for Fabregas' signature, but it is Jose Mourinho's team that the player would prefer to join for "personal and professional reasons."
Font explains that Fabregas wants to play Champions League football next season and therefore favours a switch to Chelsea over the Red Devils. However, Barca would prefer not to sell to the London club, who will directly oppose them in European competition next season.
It is true that Fabregas' ability is not as appreciated in Spain as it was during his time in England, and the player probably recognises this himself. A return to the Premier League will surely appeal to him, but his former involvement with Arsenal will not stop him playing for a rival.
Whom will Cesc Fabregas be playing for next season?
Fabregas needs to be at a club that views him as vital and first choice. He might struggle to get into Chelsea's midfield considering how Mourinho sets up his team currently, but at United and Arsenal he would be pivotal and central.
Time will tell what will happen in one of the summer's most interesting transfers. A strong World Cup might even see Barcelona realise the talent they already have on their hands.