Chelsea playmaker Cesc Fabregas halted a sustained spell of mediocrity with a relatively decent effort in the Blues’ 3-2 victory at Hull, but the former Barcelona man continues to frustrate the Stamford Bridge faithful.
The Spaniard’s post-Christmas performances have been completely removed from the sparkling showings he served up pre-Yuletide and his continued presence as a staple for the west Londoners has no doubt been a factor behind the team’s on-pitch stuttering.
He did set up a goal in the KC triumph, though this was his first in the Premier League since mid-January.
Ex-Chelsea striker and member of the Sky Sports punditocracy Tony Cascarino’s grievances with the off-colour conjurer have reached such a degree he has voiced a rather left-field opinion; Fabregas will not be first-choice next season.
Given that despite his continued lack of quality, effort and output, Mourinho continues to pick him with unwavering regularity, drafting in a mega bucks replacement for the £30m man surely won’t be on the Special One’s summer to do list.
Promoting from within, however, may be a viable solution to helping the Spanish schemer rediscover his best form and there is one standout candidate capable of claiming Fabregas’ mantle.
Academy-product midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek is the player in question.
Mourinho has already stated the towering teen will not be loaned out next season like so many of his fellow scholars to graduate through the Chelsea talent school have this term.
He will instead remain at Stamford Bridge where he will be afforded minutes on the pitch.
“I think next year to play not just to stay. Stay and play,” rhymed the Portuguese, which means those with first-team spots locked down in his team will come under increased pressure.
While fielding academy products has always been an issue for Mourinho throughout his career, his willingness to include Kurt Zouma this season proves he’s not completely averse to picking young players.
In denying Loftus-Cheek the opportunity to go out on loan he must have genuine aspirations to include him more frequently next term and it’s possible that Fabregas’ lacklustre end-of-season form is the catalyst behind this decision.