Jose Mourinho confirms interest in bringing Cesc Fabregas to Chelsea
Jose Mourinho has confirmed he is interested in bringing Cesc Fabregas to Chelsea with the midfielder seemingly on the brink of leaving Barcelona.
Arsenal have an option to buy back the Spaniard as part of the deal that took him to the Nou Camp in 2011 but currently appear unlikely to do so, leaving the door open for their London rivals to move for the 27-year-old.
And while Blues boss Mourinho did not confirm that a bid was imminent, he did admit that he was monitoring the situation closely.
"We have some interest," Mourinho told several national newspapers. "We have some interest. I have interest in analysing the situation.
"I think it looks like he's really interested in leaving Barcelona, and is very, very interested in coming back to England. This I think is clear.
"After that it's not something for us, or another team, for now. It's not for now, or tomorrow, or for before the World Cup.
"There is a process where he wants to leave, he wants to come to England because it's the country where he wants to be, where he prefers to play.
"We are interested in monitoring the situation."
If Fabregas were to arrive at Stamford Bridge, it would likely be as a replacement for Frank Lampard who announced last week he would not be returning this summer after 13 years and 211 goals in west London.
The 35-year-old was a lynchpin during Mourinho's first spell in charge at the club and the Portuguese insists the door is always open for the England international to return in some capacity.
"It's not the end of Frank's career at Chelsea - it's just a little break," he said.
"It's the end of his career as a Chelsea player, but he will be back for many, many years because he's one of the most important players in the club's history.
"You can't imagine how difficult it was for him to leave.
"I think only he knows because we spoke - not by phone, in person - but at the same time I can feel some happiness about the process because for sure he comes back to Chelsea one day. For sure.
"Everybody wants it, (owner) Mr Abramovich - the number one, the most important person - wants very much Frank to be back, I want him to be back, the staff want him back, so he comes back for sure.
"And the other thing is that he can come back the way he wants.
"Mr Abramovich has left the door completely open for him on the understanding Frank can do anything he wants at this club. He can try things, feel where he is better suited, we can feel as a club where he can give us more, but he can come back when he wants and, to repeat Mr Abramovich's words, the way he wants.
"He can be a coach, he can start at the academy, he can start being my assistant at the same time because he is doing his coaching badges, or he can start in a different role.
"He can decide in this moment whether he wants to start immediately in a coaching role, or if he wants to be an ambassador, representing the club in important places of our life - he can do what he wants."