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15 Aug 2011

Arsenal and Barcelona have confirmed they have reached an "agreement in principle" over the sale of Cesc Fabregas to the Spanish club.

It means the 24-year-old Gunners captain is set to return to the team he left as a 16-year-old in 2003.

He will now discuss personal terms and undergo a medical on Monday.

"We understand Cesc's desire to move to his home-town club and have now accepted an offer from Barcelona," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

"We have been clear that we didn't want Cesc to leave and that remains the case.

"We thank Cesc for his contribution at Arsenal and wish him future success."

Barcelona have been chasing Fabregas since last summer. As BBC Sport revealed on Friday, Arsenal will receive a guaranteed £30m transfer fee, with a further £5m dependent on the number of games played and trophies won by the Spaniard during his time at the Nou Camp.

News of the deal was confirmed at half-time of the first leg of Barcelona's Spanish Super Cup match against Real Madrid on Sunday, which ended 2-2.

The Spanish champions later stated on their official website that Fabregas will undergo a medical at Barcelona hospital at 0700 BST on Monday, before having a further test at Barcelona's medical centre at 0930 BST.

He is then scheduled to sign his contract at 1130 BST before being unveiled to the media at 1300 BST. Meanwhile, Wenger will have to face the media ahead of Tuesday's Champions League qualifier against Udinese.

Fabregas trained with his Arsenal team-mates for the final time on Friday morning and was not part of Wenger's squad for Saturday's Premier League opener against Newcastle, which finished 0-0.

He had missed the club's summer tour of Asia as well as other pre-season games, including the Emirates Cup, because of a hamstring injury.

The Spaniard, who has 58 caps for his country, made 303 appearances for the Gunners during his eight-year spell in north London, scoring 57 goals in all competitions.

In October 2003, he became Arsenal's youngest first-team player when he made his debut against Rotherham United in the Carling Cup aged 16 years and 177 days.

He also became the club's youngest goalscorer when he netted against Wolves in a 5-1 win that December. Fabregas was part of the Arsenal team that beat Manchester United on penalties to win the 2005 FA Cup, which turned out to be his only major trophy with the Gunners.

He went on to become Arsenal captain in November 2008. Striker Robin van Persie is likely to take over as the new permanent Arsenal skipper, although he will be suspended for the Udinese match after being shown a red card against Barcelona in the Champions League last season.

When quizzed on the futures of Fabregas and Samir Nasri - who BBC Sport understands is close to a move to Manchester City - at a news conference on Friday, Wenger had said he expected "nobody to leave" Arsenal.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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