COMMENT By Dominic Toner

Chelsea must ensure that Cesc Fabregas remains at Stamford Bridge beyond the January transfer window and until the end of this season.

The out-of-favour midfielder has fallen down the pecking order this campaign and is struggling for regular football under manager Antonio Conte.

The 29-year-old has made just six appearances across all competitions and played a mere 87 minutes in total during the Premier League.

The Mirror claimed earlier this month that West Ham were lining up a January loan move for Fabregas.

He could be tempted to leave the Blues in search of first-team football and the Hammers could represent a good fit, but Chelsea must make sure they keep him at the club.

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Fabgreas is currently behind N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic as the starting midfielders and Conte prefers two defensive-minded players in the middle of the park.

The Italian manager is certainly going to need his squad throughout a long domestic season and the quality of Fabregas could prove crucial if he is to challenge for the Premier League title.

The Spaniard helped Chelsea clinch the title in the 2014-15 season and provided an incredible 19 assists in the league.

He has also won the World Cup and is a two-time European Championship winner with Spain, as well as achieving success at Barcelona and Arsenal.

Fabregas moved to Stamford Bridge in 2014 and has made 102 appearances for the Blues, scoring 13 goals and supplying 35 assists in the process.

The central midfielder may not currently be in the starting XI but it is unlikely that Conte will avoid injury blows for the remainder of the season.

Chelsea youngster Nathaniel Chalonah, 21, is being introduced to the first-team but Conte will need the experience of Fabregas in his squad if they are to challenge at the top-end of the table. It would be insane to let him go in mid winter.

In other Chelsea news, a Premier League rival have shortlisted the club’s title winning defender.