Cesc Fabregas says that he retains a deep connection to Arsenal, where he could someday return as a veteran player or coach.
But he has no regrets about leaving the Gunners for a return to his beloved Barcelona.
In an interview with The Guardian, Fabregas says that leaving was the right thing for him and Arsenal.
He says that young midfielders Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey have been the beneficiaries of his departure.
And that with new signing Mesut Ozil, he believes that the Gunners can finally end their nearly 10-year long trophy drought this season.
"Arsenal is in my heart and always will be. It was important for me to leave the right way. I think the fans understood," Fabregas said of his enduring love for the Gunners, where he ultimately became skipper and talisman after joining as a teen from Barca.
"I don't know if I'll have the opportunity to go back and play there one day, or maybe after football. The club's like a family so even if it wasn't as a coach, I'm sure they'd give me the chance to play a role. It's a club that is always going to be there and will always open its doors to me."
"I watch the way Ramsey is playing now, how he looks so liberated, and I think maybe I blocked his way,” he added.
“Maybe I was an obstacle. Sometimes you need someone to leave for you to step forward and say: 'I'm here.' I'm saying that about Ramsey just as an example … I could say the same for Jack [Wilshere]. It's the concept I'm talking about, the idea of stepping up. That mental unblocking is so important. Both of them have a brilliant future.”
Regarding Ozil, Fabregas says the German was a “spectacular signing” for the Gunners, a ‘no-brainer’ that they would have been fools to pass up.
"If you have the chance to sign Ozil, you can't let it pass you by," he said.
"I think he's going to enjoy it enormously. He's the man who has to make the difference in the final third. His last pass is brilliant, he'll get more space and with space he kills you. He's going to score more goals himself because of that space. There's no one better than him for thatmediapunta [attacking midfielder] role."
Put it all together, and Fabregas has an answer to the question of whether or not the Gunners are trophy contenders again.
"I really hope so. They've started very well. They look very strong; let's see how they last,” he said.
“With Manchester [United] there is always talk about a dip, but it never happens. A lot gets decided over Christmas: the team that hangs in there best, that can resist the best, will take the title."