Chelsea pounce after Gunners reject Fabregas

WORLD Cup winner Cesc Fabregas has revealed former club Arsenal turned down a chance to bring him back to north London before Chelsea secured his services in a £27m deal.

Fabregas, set to feature in Spain’s World Cup opener against Holland tonight, yesterday finalised a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge.

When the 27-year-old moved from Arsenal to boyhood club Barcelona in 2011 a clause in the £30m deal gave the Gunners first refusal to buy him back should he later exit Camp Nou.

But Arsene Wenger turned down that opportunity and Fabregas hopes to now finally gain a Premier League winners’ medal that alluded him during his previous eight-year stint in England.

“I do feel that I have unfinished business in the Premier League and now is the right time for me to return,” said Fabregas.

“Everyone knows that Arsenal had the first option to sign me. They decided not to take this option and therefore it wasn’t meant to be. I wish them well in the future.

“I considered all the other offers very carefully and I firmly believe that Chelsea is the best choice. They match my footballing ambitions with their hunger and desire to win trophies.”

Fabregas, who joined Arsenal as a 16-year-old, boosts Chelsea’s home-grown player quota to four alongside defenders John Terry, Gary Cahill and Ryan Bertrand, though the latter’s contract is set to expire this summer.

Premier League and Champions League rules dictate that clubs cannot name more than 17 non-homegrown players aged over 21 in their 25-man squad.

For a player to be considered homegrown he must have been affiliated to the Football Association or Welsh FA for three seasons prior to turning 21.

Defender Bacary Sagna confirmed last night his intention to leave Arsenal following the expiration of his contract. He said: “Now it’s time for me to move on.”