Jose Mourinho has confirmed he is interested in bringing Cesc Fabregas back to London, to play for Chelsea.
Fabregas, who played for Arsenal from the ages of 16 to 24, has been told he can leave Barcelona, who he re-joined from the Gunners three years ago. Chelsea are reported to have offered the Spanish international £200,000 a week. However, Mourinho added he did not expect anything to happen until after the World Cup.
Arsenal are understood to feel that they already have enough midfielders and will not be pursuing a bid for their former captain.
"We have some interest in Fabregas this summer," said Mourinho. "I think it looks like he's really interested in leaving Barcelona, and is very, very interested in coming back to England. After that, it's not something for us, or another team, for now. It's not for before the World Cup. He wants to come to England. We are interested in monitoring the situation."
Fabregas would fill the void at Chelsea created by the departure, after 13 years, of Frank Lampard. While the two are not entirely comparable players, they have similar qualities, notably an eye for making and taking goals within the team ethic, which is why Mourinho loved Lampard and is interested in Fabregas.
The Chelsea manager, speaking in his role as a Yahoo World Cup ambassador, delivered a revealing analysis of midfielders that underlined why Juan Mata is no longer at the club.
"There are midfield players who are specialists," said Mourinho. "You have the anchor man, the 'six', you have the No 10 – the player people say is 'the creative'. He creates, but he doesn't defend. Because of that, you go to the kids, everybody wants to be No 10, and in the academies, the parents [they tell their kids], 'you be a No 10, stay close to the striker and score goals, don't work for the team'. Just be the creative.
"Lampard wears the eight because he is the six and the 10 and he becomes the eight. He is the best eight I managed and I don't see a better eight in the last decade anywhere.
"At the end of the day, in football the only objective is the numbers. There are opinions: you prefer this one or that one, but the only thing that is objective is the numbers. You go to [Lampard], the number of matches he played, the number of goals he scored, the number of assists, the number of ball recoveries, the areas on the pitch he was playing. He was best for ten years."
Mourinho said he expected Lampard to return to Chelsea, whether it be as 'an ambassador, working hand-in-hand with the CEO, or as a coach'.
Of the latter option, Mourinho said: "He can start at the academy, he can start being my assistant at the same time because he is doing his coaching badges, or he can start in a different role. Now, he feels he still wants to play football but Mr Abramovich has left the door open on the understanding Frank can do anything he wants at this club."
Mourinho said he had advised Lampard to retire from international football after the World Cup and Lampard had 'accepted that'. "It is the perfect way for somebody with more than 100 caps to finish his international career," added Mourinho.
Jose Mourinho is an exclusive analyst for Yahoo's worldwide football coverage, yahoo.co.uk/worldcup is the only place to read all his expert opinions during the Fifa World Cup