Spain and Barcelona midfielder Xavi has claimed that Arsenal are merely putting off the inevitable in trying to keep captain Cesc Fabregas at Emirates Stadium.
Xavi, who starred alongside Fabregas in Spain’s World Cup triumph, remains confident that a deal can be struck between Barca and the Gunners.
GEAR: Get a Fabregas shirt
Fabregas has consistently been linked with a return to the Nou Camp over the past two summers and Xavi believes it is just a matter of time until they will be lining up alongside one another for both club and country.
"We know where Cesc wants to be this coming season, but perhaps there is not enough time for Barcelona and Arsenal to agree a deal," Xavi said in the Daily Express.
"Arsenal need to understand they are only delaying the inevitable. If we don't manage to get his signature this season then Arsenal only really have him on loan for a year - because there is nothing they can do to stop him joining next summer.
"I haven't given up on him joining us this season but, if he doesn't, it won't be more than a year before he is back home.
"His people will have a whole season to sort out the deal between the two clubs and it will happen at the very latest next summer."
Xavi acknowledged that Fabregas' relationship with the Arsenal fans may stall the move for another season.
"We were all with him for five weeks in South Africa and we know he wants to be at Barcelona, he made it very clear," he added.
"But he will under no circumstances do anything that will upset the Arsenal fans. And that's probably why we are going to have to wait for him for another year."
By Ian Woodcockcomments