Former Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas admitted he would be open to a return to the club at some point in the future, while reserving special praise for midfield trio Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere.
Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas admitted Arsenal still remain very close to his heart
Fabregas, who had a stellar eight-year career at Arsenal, before making a switch to boyhood club Barcelona in the summer of 2011, keeps getting linked with a move back to North London at some point, and the midfielder said his heart still remains with the Gunners.
"Arsenal is in my heart and always will be," Fabregas told The Guardian. "I don't know if I'll have the opportunity to go back and play there one day, or maybe after football.
"It's a club that is always going to be there and will always open its doors to me. The club's like a family so, even if it wasn't as a coach, I'm sure they'd give me the chance to play a role.
"Sol (Campbell) is there now. Arsenal help a lot with the formation of coaches. (Dennis) Bergkamp also went there two, three times a week when he was doing his coaching badges. In that sense it's a lovely club and there might be the chance to do something with them."
Arsenal made a huge statement in the transfer market in the summer, by bringing in Mesut Ozil for a club record fee from Real Madrid. Fabregas is excited to see his former club sign such a world class talent.
"If you have the chance to sign Ozil, you can't let it pass you by," he said. "He fits Arsenal perfectly. It doesn't matter if you already have seven or eight players with a similar style, because they'll understand each other perfectly.
"Wilshere sees football the same way, Ramsey, (Santi) Cazorla, (Tomas) Rosicky ... The only player who's maybe different is (Theo) Walcott, but you also need that type of player because it is true that at the end of a move, after that pass, pass, pass, you need a Pedro: someone who will get behind the opposition, who gives depth, stretches the attacks, and seeks out the space. You need a Walcott or a (Robin) Van Persie, whose movement is incredible."
Arsenal have made a great start to the Premier League this season, and currently sit two points clear at the top of the table. Fabregas is hopeful they can continue the good form and finally end that always-talked-about trophy drought.
"I really hope so," he said. "They've started very well. They look very strong, let's see how they last. In the Premier League you can be going well and then you lose two games and you slip away quickly. It's very sudden.
"A lot gets decided over Christmas: the team that hangs in there best, that can resist the best, will take the title."
One of the reasons why Arsenal have looked so good is Ramsey, who has been in stunning form, scoring nine goals already this season.
"I watch the way Ramsey is playing now, how he looks so liberated, and I think maybe I blocked his way," Fabregas added. "Maybe I was an obstacle. Sometimes you need someone to leave for you to step forward and say: 'I'm here.'
"I could say the same for Jack. It's the concept I'm talking about, the idea of stepping up. That mental unblocking is so important. Both of them have a brilliant future.
"Ramsey's stamina is spectacular. Wilshere is a bit different to the typical English player: he's more of a short passer.
"Ramsey is one of those that you look at and think: 'He doesn't stand out in any specific quality, but he does everything, everything, well.' His touch is good, his movement's good, now he's scoring goals too, providing assists.
"He's a kid who as a team player is a beast. Above all, he now has the confidence, responsibility."
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