Chelsea made the news of the Fabregas transfer official via a statement on their website, as the player took his time to say goodbye to his former club before explaining he felt he had "unfinished" business in England:
Firstly I would like to thank everyone at FC Barcelona where I enjoyed three wonderful years. It was my childhood club and I will always be proud and honoured that I had a chance to play for such a great team.
I do feel that I have unfinished business in the Premier League and now is the right time to return.
I considered all the other offers very carefully and I firmly believe that Chelsea is the best choice. They match my footballing ambitions with their hunger and desire to win trophies. They have an amazing squad of players and an incredible manager. I am fully committed to this team and I can't wait to start playing.
The Spanish midfielder was all class as he said his goodbyes to Barcelona, unlike the club's response on their official website:
Cesc Fabregas is leaving FC Barcelona, three years after re-joining the club from Arsenal. His return of 42 goals in 151 appearances is an impressive tally for a midfielder, mainly because he has also been played frequently in the ‘false centre forward’ role that is so popular at Barça. He has won 106 games, drawn 29 and lost 16.
But despite glowing starts to each campaign, Cesc’s contributions to the cause gradually decreased as each season drew to a close. From being someone who joined in with the attack, supplying and scoring goals, the magic tended to fade later on in each season. He only scored one, six and one goals in the last 24 games of each season. For some reason, he was never as good in the second half of a season as in the first.
Fabregas was a victim of the 2013-14 campaign that saw the team finish without winning a trophy for the first time in six years and the club's decision to move some of their assets is an understandable one. Change was needed, and change is what we are seeing.
But whether or not the Blaugrana sold the right player is debatable, and the decision to let Fabregas move back to London is one that could come back to haunt them.
Like Barcelona's statement says, Fabregas isn't just a central midfielder. He was one of the team's most versatile players, capable of playing every single midfield position and even further up the pitch as a so-called false nine.
Fabregas isn't an impressive athlete, nor is he a lethal finisher. What he is, however, is an exceptional passer with superb vision and a great understanding of the game. He's very good at creating space and chances for others, and Chelsea are bringing him in for this exact reason.
His best role is as a central midfielder, where he has the most space to put his distribution skills to good use.
At Barcelona, those spots are already taken by the dynamic duo of Andres Iniesta and Xavi—arguably the best central duo in world football.
With Sergio Busquets closing down the space behind them, these two veterans have the freedom to drift all over the pitch and work their magic. Their passing is what makes this team tick, and Barcelona have ridden this pair to the most successful period in club history.
Xavi is the oldest of the two at 34 years of age. His 2013-14 season perhaps wasn't as exceptional as previous campaigns, but the team struggled as a whole, so it shouldn't be assumed Father Time is catching up to the Spanish international.
What Barcelona lack is depth behind these two, a plan B in case something goes wrong.
No one would ever wish for injury to befall one of Xavi or Iniesta, but given the busy schedule Barcelona will be playing next season—including Champions League football—odds are it will happen.
Fabregas' understanding of Barcelona's system made him the perfect backup: versatile enough to fill in at other positions, but more than capable of playing in the centre when one of the veterans needed a rest or got injured.
It's not as simple as just signing a replacement for the Spanish international—Barcelona's tiki-taka style of football is too complicated for a new signing to just soak in over the course of a single summer.
Sky Sports' Lucas Brown reports Ivan Rakitic will be the team's first summer signing, and the Croatian is a fine player. However, Rakitic has no experience playing tiki-taka and has never played for a club of this magnitude.
As for bringing up his replacement from La Masia—the position of central midfielder is stocked with talent, most notably Sergi Samper and Denis Suarez—none of the youngsters have any real experience on the highest level.
Fabregas was seen as a natural heir to Xavi when the latter would decide to hang up his boots, and the former Arsenal captain perhaps never lived up to that potential.
With his long-term future at the club doubtful, Barcelona decided to strike when the iron was still hot. On a financial level, that makes sense.
But the club will miss his versatility, and unless Rakitic somehow takes to Barcelona's intricate system like a fish takes to water, they will miss having Fabregas there in case something happens to their two midfield stars.
Fabregas' parting from the club seemed like a foregone conclusion as soon as the 2013-14 season ended, and in the long run, perhaps a split will benefit both parties the most.
Going into the 2014-15 season, though, the Blaugrana will have their regrets over selling the man they tried so hard to bring back just a few years ago.
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