‘Once I decide to leave Barcelona, I put in the contract that Arsenal can have a clause to buy me back if I decide to leave Barcelona one day. The clause was once I decide to leave and have the permission of the Barcelona president, Arsenal will have the first option and I can not speak to any other club for one week until Arsenal makes a decision if they want me or not. My agent Darren Dean spoke to Arsene, he didn’t give him an answer to be honest, then we had to wait one full week to see if Arsenal responded. Definitely this was my first option, in my mind I’m telling everyone I’m going to Arsenal, this is what I want. Arsene, Gazidis and everyone or nobody basically said anything for a week. I didn’t want to be a beggar. We told them once, they know the situation, if in one week they hadn’t said anything… straightaway I knew that probably they didn’t want me back.
They could have said after three hours they didn’t want me back so I could have spoken to other teams. They waited the whole week without giving me a response and still since then, no response ever. After a week I had to take my solution. I had Manchester City, I had Manchester United and then I spoke to Mourinho, which I didn’t think it would ever happen to be honest and he knows that, because of what happened when I was at Arsenal and Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid, many many things. But after I left the room with Mourinho I said to Darren “that’s it, I’m going to Chelsea”. There was no money involved. What he told me, the team he wanted to make, what he thought of me, how he wanted me to play absolutely every game. On top of that it’s London, not Manchester.
‘For me London is my home. I knew this would have a lot of repercussions with Arsenal. It could have been similar with City or United. I wanted to go back to the Premier League, first of all with Arsenal because I felt it’s always my home and what I lived there, probably I haven’t lived it anywhere in terms of everything. But I wanted to go back to the Premier League not Italy or somewhere else in Spain. After Real Madrid and Spain I thought my level was very high. Spain after Real Madrid and Barcelona, the clubs are good but not the same level so I thought going back to the Premier League was the best for me. But after Arsenal didn’t come back to me I had to make a decision, I cannot just retire.
‘I just felt for many things that Chelsea was the right solution at that time. To be honest, thank God I took that decision. I know it can be controversial with the Arsenal fans but these five years I’ve been very happy there. We won everything in England. The most winning team in English football in the time I’ve been there, playing some great football at times. With the fans there’s been a connection, we always had a great understanding. I’ve been so happy there. The reality is that I went there, won two Premier Leagues, which was my dream, FA Cup, League Cups, Europa League. In the end it was meant to be and I’m very happy with the choice I made.’
Full pod here: https://arseblog.com/2020/03/episode-570-cesc-fabregas/