Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas does have a future at the club despite being left on the bench for the Premier League victory over West Ham United, according to manager Antonio Conte. The Spain international was an unused substitute during the 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge, sparking speculation over his immediate future in west London.

Spanish publication Sport has claimed that Fabregas has asked his representatives to reach out to 11-time Champions League winners Real Madrid over a return to his homeland. The 29-year-old has enjoyed two separate spells at Barcelona but would be prepared to move to their rivals in the Spanish capital in order to prevent his career from stalling.

In his first competitive game in charge of the Blues, Conte opted to start with new signing N'Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic in the centre of the Chelsea midfield, with Oscar, Eden Hazard and Willian ahead of the holding pair. Fabregas made 49 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea last term and Italian coach Conte has not ruled out the former Arsenal skipper being called upon this term.

"Cesc is Chelsea's player, and I'm happy about him, with his attitude and behaviour," he said, according to Sky Sports. "He must know from before that when we are a great team like Chelsea it can happen that I have to take a decision before the game to choose a starting XI.

Cesc Fabregas
Fabregas was forced to watch Chelsea's win over West Ham from the bench in Conte's first game Getty Images

"That can happen that Fabregas is not in the starting XI, but it can happen for all the players. It's important to see always the right attitude. Because we must fight this season and it's important to stay together in every situation.

"But then the shape can improve and can change all the situations. Now I took this decision but the next game I can change or not. When a coach takes this decision there is always a reason but I prefer to keep this to myself. But I repeat I don't see any problem and I'm very happy to have these players, to train these players."

Fabregas endured a torrid 2015-16 campaign during his second season at Chelsea, and mid-way through the season was forced to deny he was behind a dressing room revolt against Jose Mourinho – who was sacked last December after the Blues lost nine of their opening 16 league games.