José Mourinho not convinced about signing Cesc Fábregas for Chelsea

José Mourinho is unconvinced about signing Cesc Fábregas with the Chelsea manager retaining a preference for Atlético Madrid’s Koke, the midfielder with whom Barcelona want to replace the former Arsenal captain.

Fábregas has been told by the Catalan club that he is for sale for £30m. The 27-year-old would prefer to return to the Premier League and to a Champions League club, his options have narrowed to Chelsea, as Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City have all – for the moment, at least – passed up the opportunity to buy him.

With Louis van Gaal, the new manager of Manchester United, having also not identified Fábregas as a priority as the Dutchman seeks to rebuild the squad, the Chelsea hierarchy have presented the Spaniard to Mourinho as an ideal goal-scoring midfield successor to Frank Lampard, who is leaving after 13 years at the west London club.

Mourinho, however, is unsure about the Spaniard, preferring instead to target Koke. And, with Mourinho having also sold another diminutive goal-scoring playmaker in Juan Mata to United in January, plus Fabregas’s history with the Portuguese, whether he joins Chelsea is in the balance.

In February Fábregas told Mourinho to “shut up” after the 50-year-old had branded Barça the worst team the club had fielded in “many, many years”.

Although Mourinho would rather sign Koke, Barça are favourites to do so. Koke is five-years younger than Fábregas and was part of the successful Atlético side that won La Liga and were 90 seconds away from defeating Real Madrid to lift the Champions League.

Given that Fábregas has won the World Cup and the last two European Championships with Spain and is a proven Premier League performer the reluctance of three of the clubs competing in next season’s elite competition – plus United – to buy him is a big surprise.

Fábregas is understood to be relaxed about the situation, though with Spain’s World Cup defence starting on Thursday-week in Brazil, whether his future can be decided before then becomes less likely as the tournament nears.

Fábregas’s stock has fallen considerably from last summer. Then, United had a £35m bid for him rejected by Barça, with Fábregas prepared to move to Old Trafford had his club been prepared to sell.

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