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 Posted by Dermot Ledwith
Jun 2, 2014

Time to leave?

Cesc Fabregas has been linked with a return to England

Cesc Fàbregas has never fully settled into one particular role in three seasons at Barcelona and that could be the reason why he is rumoured to be seeking a move back to the Premier League this summer.

According to Barcelona newspapers El Mundo Deportivo and Sport, the decision is made and Fabregas will be returning to England where he has no shortage of top clubs looking to sign him.

- McNicholas: Wenger should bring Cesc back
- City: Move played down

Fabregas was in London at the weekend where he spent eight happy years at Arsenal but El Mundo Deportivo believe Liverpool and the two Manchester clubs are also keen on his signature, while Sport says Chelsea are in the running.

New coach Luis Enrique in refused to rule out a sale in his introductory news conference as manager of Barcelona but club president Josep María Bartomeu insists Fabregas will not leave.

However, Fabregas was missing from a photo to publicise Barca's new strip for next season and that got the rumour mill in full swing before the player's trip to London at the weekend.

The large fee he may command would certainly add to Enrique's coffers for a rebuilding process but can Barca allow another influential player leave after the sale of Thiago Alcantara last summer and departures of Victor Valdes and Carles Puyol?

Atletico Madrid's Koke, 22, has been mentioned as a possible signing and Fabregas' sale could help finance the deal but there is no guarantee the former would adapt to Barcelona's style of play.

Fabregas was the local boy who got away; one who had been schooled in the Barca philosophy from an early age. In a similar way to the re-signing of Gerard Pique, the chase to repatriate Fabregas was seen at the time as a sure fire success.

In three seasons at Barca he has won a La Liga title and a Spanish cup but has not been able to help the club add to the fourth Champions League success gained immediately before his arrival.

Having scored nine, eleven and eight La Liga goals in those seasons, he has played an important part without ever fully establishing himself at the club.

The fact that he has played under three different coaches in his second spell will not have helped him find a settled role in a talented centre area of the pitch.

Last season, Gerardo Martino would regularly leave him on the bench or choose him as the first player to be replaced and he only completed 90 minutes on 16 occasions out of the 52 games he took part in.

There is no doubt he is still one of the game's greatest passers of the ball, but he appears to have adapted his game in a Barca team that requires more touch than the driving runs that became part of his game at Arsenal where he was heavily relied on.

Despite not getting the game time he would have expected, it was still enough to make him joint second in La Liga on assists along with that man Koke. Both players gave the killer pass on 13 occasions, only beaten by Angel Di Maria who created 17 goals.

With the waning influence of Xavi Hernandez and to a lesser extent Andres Iniesta, Fabregas could still be the man Barca need to get back to winning ways next season but that will depend on what coach Enrique is thinking.