Fabregas departs Chelsea for Monaco

Cesc Fabregas has left Chelsea as expected, linking up once again with former Arsenal colleague Thierry Henry at Monaco in Ligue 1.

Monaco have agreed a deal with Chelsea to bring Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas to Ligue 1.

The 31-year-old had been out of favour at Stamford Bridge this season and, with his contract expiring in June, has departed for the French top flight on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

Fabregas joined Chelsea from Barcelona in 2014 and had initially been a key player for Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, winning the Premier League title under both.

However, Maurizio Sarri's arrival ahead of 2018-19 effectively spelled the end of Fabregas' Chelsea career, as the Italian brought in his former Napoli midfielder Jorginho, who instantly took the Spaniard's position.

The transfer brings Fabregas' long association with English football to an end, at least for the time being, having played 501 times for Arsenal and Chelsea.

"It is a great pleasure to join AS Monaco, a new project for me," said Fabregas. "The group is of quality with young players and a young coach. 

"I'm here to help the team, I'm looking forward to starting, we have a great match to play in Marseille on Sunday. I am very excited."

Fabregas' move also sees him reunite with former Gunners team-mate Thierry Henry.

Henry spoke at a news conference on Monday confirming his interest in Fabregas, whom he claims to have spoken to "three times a week since 2007" when the Frenchman left Arsenal for Barca.

Vice-president Vadim Vasilyev added: "We are very pleased to welcome to AS Monaco Cesc Fabregas, a world-class player and a great professional, whose arrival demonstrates the ambition of the club. 

"This is obviously a very good technical reinforcement for the team but we are convinced that his experience at the highest level will bring a lot to our players on and off the field."

Monaco will hope Fabregas' signing can provide the necessary spark to help them avoid the drop.

Henry's side are second from bottom in Ligue 1 and five points adrift of safety after an abysmal start to the season which has seen them win just three times in 18 matches.