EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has said Cesc Fabregas is “very, very interested” in coming back to the Premier League, and confirmed he is “monitoring the situation” around the Barcelona midfielder.
Speaking exclusively, the Yahoo Global Football Ambassador stopped short of declaring an interest in Fabregas, but said it was “clear” the former Arsenal captain wanted to return to the Premier League after three mixed seasons with Barcelona.
Chelsea have emerged as favourites to sign Fabregas, as Mourinho seeks a long-term successor to Frank Lampard who confirmed his exit from Stamford Bridge this week after 13 years at the club.
Any move for Fabregas may have to wait until after he concludes his business with world champions Spain at the World Cup finals in Brazil, but Mourinho revealed he is keeping an eye on things.
”I have interest in analysing the situation,” said Mourinho.
”I think maybe I shouldn’t have said that because he is not my player so it is not my problem but it looks like he (Fabregas) is really interested in leaving Barcelona and he is very, very interested in moving back to England. This I think is clear.
”After that I don’t think it is something for us or another team, I don’t think it’s something for now, it’s not something for today, for tomorrow.
”Before the World Cup I don’t think it is something for that but there is a process where he wants to leave, he wants to come to England because it is the country he prefers to be, prefers to play and we are interested in monitoring the situation.”
Mourinho admits saying farewell to Lampard as a Chelsea player was one of his toughest moments as a manager, but hopes he will return to Stamford Bridge in future as part of the coaching staff when he winds down his playing career.
Lampard departs Stamford Bridge as Chelsea’ s all-time leading goalscorer, having netted 211 goals in 648 games for the club.
”You don’t imagine how difficult it was for us,” said Mourinho.
”I think only he knows how difficult because we spoke, I spoke with him. It was not by phone, it was personally, we had a conversation so he knows how difficult but at the same time I can feel some happiness on the process because for sure he comes back to Chelsea, for sure, no doubts, everybody wants that.”
Mourinho said he and club owner Roman Abramovich had already made plans to ensure Lampard will be welcomed back to the club in future years.
”Mr Abramovich is the number one, is the most important one, he wants very much Frank to be back, I want him to be back, the structure wants him to be back, he wants to be back so he comes back for sure,” he said.
”The other thing is he can be back the way he wants, the way he wants. Mr Abramovich opens completely the door because we understand that in this club he can do anything he wants, he can try things, he can feel what he is better at, we can feel as a club where he can give us more but he can be back when he wants and I repeat Mr Abramovich’s words, the way he wants.”
Lampard left West Ham for Chelsea in a £11 million transfer in 2001, but prospered under Mourinho after a slow first two seasons when the Portuguese coach arrived for his first spell as Chelsea coach in 2004.
He won the 2005 and 2006 Premier League titles under Mourinho and the 2010 trophy under Carlo Ancelotti. He also helped Chelsea claim the 2012 Champions League and 2013 Europa League along with four FA Cups and two League Cups.
”He can be a coach, he can start in the Academy, he can start being my assistant at the same time he is doing the badges because he can do all the badges,” said Mourinho.
”He can decide in this moment, I don’t want to start immediately in a coaching role, he wants another role, wants to be an ambassador, wants to work hand to hand with the CEO representing the club in important places of our life. He can do what he wants so he has to be back.
”Now he feels that he wants to play football still, he is happy to do that, it is for sure the thing that he most loves – apart from his family obviously – but the thing he most loves is to play football and he wants to do that for a couple more years, I don’t know, two or three until he feels for that so I can in the middle of the sadness I can feel some happiness because he is a fantastic person and I feel also very happy because the club recognised that.
”It is not the end of Frank Lampard’s career in Chelsea, it is just a little break, it is the end of his career in Chelsea as a player, it is just a little player and he will be back hopefully for many, many years because he is one of the most important players in the history of Chelsea.”