Antonio Conte has told Cesc Fabregas to stay at Chelsea as he will be given more game time next season, according to reports.
The Spain star started much of last term on the bench and the addition of £40million Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko – likely to start alongside NGolo Kante – has left his future up in the air.
But Conte, who yesterday signed a new two-year deal at Chelsea, has spoken to Fabregas to reassure him he will play more regularly next time around, according to the Evening Standard.
The Italian even reportedly admitted to Fabregas, 30, that he should have featured more often for him last campaign.
Conte dropped him for almost six weeks after Chelsea’s 3-0 loss at Arsenal in September. Incidentally, Fabregas scored in the reverse fixture in February after coming on as an 84th minute substitute.
The former Arsenal and Barcelona ace grumbled at his lack of game time last season, sparking interest from AC Milan.
But fan-favourite Fab still managed seven goals and 13 assists in all competitions to prove his worth.
Conte, 47, has been left annoyed at Chelsea’s lack of activity in the transfer window and risks entering the new season with a midfield crisis.
England Under-21 star Nathaniel Chalobah signed for Watford last week, while Nemanja Matic looks destined to leave, with Manchester United, Juventus and Inter Milan interested.
Chelsea stormed to the Premier League title last season without a Champions League schedule.
But the added fixture list this term means squad depth is a major issue for Conte.
Fabregas started Chelsea’s pre-season 8-2 friendly win over Fulham alongside Kante on Saturday.