Despite seeing his compatriot struggle for playing time at Chelsea last year, Spaniard Cesar Azpilcueta feels Cesc Fabregas has a "big season” ahead of him.
At the pre-match press conference ahead of Chelsea’s tie with Bayern Munich in the 2017 International Champions Cup, the 27-year-old right-back said, “We expect a big season from him (Cesc Fabregas). He’s a very good player, with very good experience and has given a lot in the team”.
Fabregas, who is closing in on the all-time Premier League assist record, started just 13 times even as a dominant Chelsea clinched the 2016-17 league title in Antonio Conte's debut season in England.
Despite not featuring in Conte’s starting XI, the former Barcelona man still managed to score five goals and assist 12 more, with some clutch performances clinching valuable wins for the Blues.
With the 2018 FIFA World Cup on the horizon, there were reports that the 30-year-old midfielder may seek a move elsewhere to get regular playing time in a bid to make Julen Lopetegui’s Spain squad for Russia.
However, Conte seems to have convinced the central midfielder to stay and with summer acquisitions of Antonio Rudiger, Timeoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata, Chelsea’s squad looks impressive. And with Champions League football back on the cards, the Blues are poised to re-establish themselves as continental heavyweights once again.
While Fabregas may not be leaving, another Spaniard, Diego Costa is almost certainly on his way out after the Blues shattered their transfer record to sign Morata as his replacement.
The wantaway striker is desperate to move back to Atletico Madrid, but with the Rojiblancos under a transfer embargo which prohibits them from registering new players for one season, his next destination is uncertain.