5 replacements for Cesc Fabregas at Chelsea
For a player of his undoubted talent, Cesc Fabregas has had a curious career. Despite all the laurels he has won at the various clubs he has been at (Arsenal, Barcelona & Chelsea) as well as for the Spanish national team, there is still a sense that he has not shown his world-class talent consistently.
This frustrating aspect of his play where he just drifts out of play and does not help to control or dictate the play has made him largely a spectator under manager Antonio Conte and irrespective of who becomes manager at Stamford Bridge next season, it seems a new deep-lying playmaker will be needed to replace the Spaniard.
Here are 5 quality replacements that can add a different dimension to the Blues next season:
#5 Mikel Merino (Newcastle United)
Will undoubtedly be the cheapest on the list but might also be one to offer long-term value given his age.
Mikel has been one of the better value buys in the Premier League this season as his abilities have meant that formerly heralded midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has had to play second fiddle.
A rangy box-to-box midfielder, he is composed in possession and has a keen eye for a pass. The product of Osasuna’s academy is technically gifted and is very similar and abilities and playing style to Spanish legend Xabi Alonso.
While he is not the fastest player, he does have a decent turn of pace and has excellent delivery from dead ball situations.
His aerial ability and marking skills (things Fabregas has never been renowned for) means that Chelsea can if need be, play a two-man central midfield pair as the defensive midfielder (nominally N’golo Kante) would not be left alone to deal with opposition attacks, something which the club has had to face when Fabregas has been paired with just Kante.
Given Newcastle’s precarious position in the league & the likelihood of relegation coupled with the anger over the management of Mike Ashley, a £30m price tag should be enough to add the talented Merino to Chelsea’s burgeoning Spanish contingent.