Thierry Henry has made his first major transfer coup after Chelsea confirmed the Monaco boss has been reunited with former Arsenal team-mate Cesc Fabregas.
The Ligue 1 strugglers made the announcement on Friday afternoon and is the fourth bit of business they have conducted since the transfer window opened on January 1, with the 31-year-old signing a three-and-a-half year deal after moving for a fee believed to be £10million.
Speaking after the deal was confirmed, Fabregas – who has taken the squad number 44, said: ‘It’s a great pleasure to join Monaco, a new project for myself.
The squad has quality, with young players and a young coach. I am here to help the team, I can’t wait to start, we have a big match to play this Sunday against Marseille.
‘I am really excited.’
Moanco’s vice-president Vadim Vasilyev added: ‘We are delighted to welcome Cesc Fabregas to Monaco, a world class player and a great professional, whose arrival deomstrated the ambition of the club.
‘This is clearly an excellent technical signing 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 pitch.’
In his place at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea are hoping to conclude a deal for either Cagliari’s Nicolo Barella or Leandro Paredes of Zenit Saint Petersburg.
A statement made by the Premier League club said: ‘Cesc Fabregas has today completed a permanent transfer to Monaco.
‘The midfielder’s switch to the Ligue 1 club brings the curtain down on his four-and-a-half year Chelsea career, a period in which he won four major trophies, including two Premier League titles. The Spaniard made 198 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 22 goals.
‘We thank Cesc for his wonderful service and wish him the very best of luck for the next chapter in what has been a fantastic career.’
Monaco released a video along with the words ‘Annonce Fabregas’ to confirm the deal, which depicted the Spaniard painstakingly creating a watch, before declaring: ‘Now, it’s time.’
Chelsea also released a video commemorating his time at the Bridge, in which he lifted the Premier League twice, accompanied by the message: ‘Thanks for the memories’.
Fabregas joins fellow fresh faces Lyle Foster, Naldo and Fode Ballo-Toure at the Stade Louis II as Henry battles to avoid relegation in his first season as a professional manager.
Fabregas could be thrown straight into the action to help out his new side, who face Marseille on Sunday evening.
The 2017 French champions sit second-from-bottom, five points adrift of safety. It will be a different challenge for the playmaker, who has spent so much of his career at the top end of the table.
The Spaniard left the pitch at Stamford Bridge in tears following his last match for the Blues – an FA Cup third round win over Nottingham Forest.
‘Time flies,’ said Fabregas after the game. ‘It feels like last week that I started playing professionally and now it’s more than 15 years. It goes so fast and you have to be ready every three days, for the criticism with everyone saying how good you are and the ups and downs.
‘It feels like growing older it never goes away it is technique. Physicality goes away. Technicality stays with you.’
His departure brings to an end an incredible 12-and-a-half year stint in the Premier League, including his time as an Arsenal player.