It's Fabregas Week on Arsenal.com as we celebrate the man who claimed our Player of the Season award.

Fabregas has emerged as the fulcrum of the Arsenal side since Thierry Henry's departure and added a new dimension to his play last season - goals. Still just 21, Fabregas is already one of the finest midfielders in the world.

Here, six former Gunners give their assessment of the Spanish star and explain why he is so important to Arsène Wenger's team.

Alan Smith
"He is a fantastic player and started off last season like a house on fire, scoring goals after the previous season when he couldn’t hit a barn door at times. His goals dried up a little bit but he is such a fantastic talent that he can play to half of his potential and still dictate a game. The great thing is he will still get better. I think when anybody is subjected to the first-team and the level of football like he has been, they will improve. Strength-wise he has improved too and I think he still has a bit in him, not in terms of height but in terms of filling out. He has come on in leaps and bounds in that direction but also he has that experience now. He has the confidence to demand the ball, to grab a game by the scruff of the neck and dictate it. He is a born leader."

Ray Parlour
"He has been fantastic. It was a big season for him after Henry left and it gave Cesc more to do within the team and he stepped up. He has matured. We all knew his potential when he was 15; he had the touch and that desire as well. Last season he got forward a lot more and is scoring goals - that was probably lacking a bit before. Last year 12 goals was a good return for him. Flamini helped in that because he did a lot of hard work in midfield but, all-round, Cesc has improved. His passing is fantastic and he still has the desire and doesn’t mind putting a tackle in. He had a great season."

Nigel Winterburn
"He had a terrific season. Cesc is so good on the ball, so creative, and had such an explosive start with a few goals. That is why he stood out maybe more than others. When you get to see these players on a regular basis you can tell they have quality. There was no doubt he would be fantastic and of course he will keep on improving."

Stewart Robson
"He's a magnificent player. He's not a great dribbler of the ball but he always makes the right decision when the ball comes to him. He's got a good range of passing, he found an almost telepathic understanding with Adebayor, and he got forward more and scored more goals last season. He linked up play and showed more energy, he has proved he is athletic enough to be a world-class midfielder. Would he score enough goals to warrant comparison with the likes of Michel Platini? Well, he is getting that way now. I think most aspects of his game have improved."

Perry Groves
"It is thoroughly deserved; he has added goals to his game this year. People could put to him that he wasn’t scoring enough last season. Arsène probably gave him more license to get involved and with Flamini playing so well in the holding role he was able to do that. His finishing has improved and he has become more influential through the whole game whereas before his influence was more spasmodic. When the going gets tough he has to be a little more keen to close people down, win the ball back. He does do that and you need the 'nasty' side of the game when you are a midfielder. His goals tally improved but they did dry up towards the end of the season so maybe he can add consistency in that area. Cesc is world-class already and it is frightening to think how good he will be."

Terry Neill
"When he was first introduced to the team at a very tender age, you were waiting for that little dip in form that you get with youngsters, but he has just improved with every game. The blip never came. His patience and his awareness is excellent and we must not forget his early-season goalscoring exploits. He discovered that he could score from outside the box and was prepared to have a dip. He is now the main focus of the side."

 

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 8 Jul 2008