Barcelona have finalised an agreement for the transfer of Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal, according to reports in Spain.
Arsene Wenger earlier revealed that he hoped the long-running saga would be resolved very soon and later confirmed his skipper would play no part in Saturday’s Premier League opener against Newcastle at St James’ Park.
It is now being reported in Spain that Fabregas is set to be officially presented as a Barcelona player over the weekend on a five-year contract.
The deal is understood to have finally been done following a protracted pursuit and the midfielder is travelling to link up with his new team-mates ahead of the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid.
Fabregas has never hidden his affection for Barca after starting his career with the Catalan club as a schoolboy, before moving to Arsenal’s youth ranks in 2003.
He quickly emerged as a special talent and over the years has blossomed into one of the finest performers in the Premier League.
Watching Fabregas’ continued development from afar, Barcelona became interested in bringing him back to Camp Nou and speculation intensified during the transfer window of summer 2010.
A move did not materialise last summer and the Gunners were again determined to hold on to him this year, but Barca stepped up the chase and a number of their players publicly called for Fabregas to sign.
There has been no official confirmation of the deal but Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes believes a move is imminent, telling AS: “I hope so yes and, if the news is confirmed it will be great news, above all for one person, a friend, and the Barcelona fans.
“I’m not disclosing anything, but as you know it is advanced, and although it is not official it will surely be closed very soon.”
Asked if, right now, he could imagine a Barca without Fabregas next season, the goalkeeper added: “I can’t imagine it. I think that the news is almost confirmed and he will surely come, but anything could happen.
“I think that it will be confirmed and I’m very happy.”
The clubs have been in negotiations for some time over a fee, with Arsenal reportedly demanding close to £40million, and Wenger will hope to have time to reinvest the money generated from Fabregas’ sale.
With the future of Samir Nasri also uncertain and less than three weeks to go until the window closes, Wenger’s attention is sure to turn to bringing in reinforcements as he looks to steer the club to their first piece of silverware since 2005.