Cesc Fabregas wants to make his 500th English club appearance before leaving Chelsea in this month’s transfer window.
The Spanish midfielder missed the victory over Crystal Palace with a neck injury, but could return to the squad for tomorrow night’s game against Southampton.
He has made a combined 499 appearances for Chelsea and Arsenal, and one more would see him reach his target ahead of his expected departure.
Having moved to Arsenal as a 16-year-old, Fabregas has spent over 12 years in English football and has been one of the best ever Premier League players.
He is second only to Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs in the all-time assists chart, despite having spent three years in Spain at Barcelona, and has won every English domestic trophy including two league titles with Chelsea.
Fabregas only has six months remaining on his Chelsea contract and the club are unwilling to offer the 31-year-old more than a 12-month extension.
That has alerted a host of clubs at home and abroad, including AC Milan and Monaco, who want to sign him in January but none of them can pay a transfer fee for Fabregas with his wages having to be factored in as well. Allowing him to leave on a free transfer six months before his contract expires would save Chelsea almost £10million in wages and bonuses that could go into signing a replacement.
Fabregas has only made one league start this season.
Another of Chelsea’s most successful ever players, Gary Cahill, has hired a personal trainer to ensure he is in the best-possible shape ahead of a move this month.
Cahill wants to leave Stamford Bridge on loan before departing permanently when his contract expires in the summer.
Premier League strugglers Fulham are leading the race to sign Cahill on loan, ahead of West Ham United.
Arsenal are keeping an eye on Cahill’s situation, but are expected to make a move only if their defensive crisis worsens.
Cahill, who remains Chelsea’s club captain, has not played since the end of November and is determined not to sit in the stands or on the substitutes’ bench for the second half of the season.
David Luiz has six months remaining on his contract but the 31-year-old Brazilian will stay until the end of the season before leaving Chelsea for a second time(© Daily Telegraph, London)