Fabregas Claims Wenger Is 'Like a Father' & That Arsenal Had First Option After Spaniard Left Barca

Sunday September 17th, 2017

In an interview with Sky Sports, Cesc Fabregas has been reflecting on his time as a teenager at Arsenal, ahead of Sunday's London derby clash.

Fabregas joined Arsenal at just 16-years-old in 2003 and went on to make a name for himself as one of the world's best midfielders in the next seven seasons with the Gunners, scoring 35 goals in 202 appearances.

When somewhat cheekily asked if he looks back at Arsenal 'like an old girlfriend', Fabregas responded calmly suggesting that was far from the case:

"I wouldn't call it that. It's much more than that, because sometimes an old girlfriend you lose connection with, you don't feel anything for after years," claimed Fabregas.

ADRIAN DENNIS/GettyImages

"I feel very attached, even now, to Arsenal. My feelings for the club, well I don't have to repeat myself, every single time we play against them, because it's known."

Fabregas also claimed in the interview that Arsenal had the first option to buy him back when he was told he could leave Barcelona, but that Wenger did not take up the offer:

Jasper Juinen/GettyImages

"Once I made the decision to leave Barcelona, Arsenal had the first option, and Barcelona had the obligation to contact Arsenal first. Then they had a week to basically respond yes or no to the buy-out clause," said Fabregas.

"The week passed, Arsenal never responded, never contacted me either, so I took it as them having enough players in their squad, so I made my move to Chelsea."

Despite not getting his desired move back to Arsenal thanks in part to Arsene Wenger, Fabregas had nothing but kind words to say about his old boss, after saying that he's never

mentioned the proposed transfer to the Frenchman:

"I love Arsene, the man. I love him of course as a coach too. This is a decision he made. I always said that he's like a father to me, and he will always be. So outside of football it's always fantastic to see him," claimed Fabregas.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.