Cesc Fàbregas made his first appearance for Chelsea in ten weeks this weekend, getting his second start of the season as Chelsea beat Manchester City 3-1 at the Etihad to open up a three-point lead at the top of the table. It was Chelsea's eighth win in a row, a streak that began after Fàbregas's last appearance and start, which was the infamous 3-0 loss to Arsenal. A much better and happier occasion this time around!
Despite that, Fàbregas's future remains far from assured at Chelsea. The impression is that he started purely because of Nemanja Matić's injury, and as nice as it may be to have Cesc as an emergency starter or late-game potential game-winning option off the bench, he himself may not be satisfied with that situation for much longer.
For now, and certainly with the team continuing to win, the situation looks as amicable as ever. Both Conte and Fàbregas have been saying the right things all along, plus here's César Azpilicueta to pour some cold water on any impending January rumors.
"To have a player like him at the club is really important. We know his qualities — he is a game changer."
"The passes he did during the win against Manchester City were amazing. He provided the assist for the goal which got us back into the game — Diego scored a very good goal. Not a lot of players can do that kind of pass. I have seen him do things like that for years, with Spain as well. The skill that he has is very special. He can see passes before anyone else and is so accurate from such a long distance. Obviously, it is a really difficult thing to do and for others to stop."
"Does he want to stay? He shows that in every training session and in the games in which he's played. There is no doubt about it. When some players are not playing, there is always a bit of speculation. But Cesc has shown really good commitment, great spirit in training and in every game, when he has played and when he hasn't. I think we will have him [for a long time yet]."
-César Azpilicueta; source: Evening Standard
Famous last words, right?
That said, the latest rumors on Fàbregas seem to have shifted target from January to the summer, which would be a much more realistic timeframe for any decision to be made on Cesc's long-term future.
AC Milan are still hopeful of a summer deal for Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas. #TransferTalk https://t.co/UDGS0cu9ts pic.twitter.com/XG38CPLmYX— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 6, 2016