Balague: Cesc switch inevitable

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas' return to former club Barcelona is a case of 'when' rather than 'if' - according to Spanish journalist Guillem Balague.

The 22-year-old midfielder has made more than 160 league appearances for the Gunners since arriving from the Catalan side's youth ranks in 2003.

But he has long been linked with a big-money move back to the Camp Nou, with the European champions believed to have been weighing up an offer for his services during the close-season.

Recent reports have suggested that Fabregas has met with Sandro Rosell, a candidate hoping to succeed current Barca president Joan Laporta, whose tenure ends next summer.

And Balague believes there may be some truth in the rumours, and that the Arsenal midfielder's move to Spain is inevitable.

“I'm convinced that Barcelona are talking up the possibility of Cesc Fabregas joining the club because they understand either from the player or the family that this is what he wants to do,” he told

“I can see Cesc arriving at Barcelona in a year, two at most.”

While Balague noted that although the Catalan club should not be divulging their interest in any player to the press, they are often forced into giving away snippets of information by journalists, who then exploit it as much as humanly possible.

"In England there is less necessity for clubs to talk up which players they want to sign," he said.

“In Spain there are four sports newspapers to be filled, and if they get a lead that Cesc wants to join Barcelona, these papers will push it and push it and push it, and if they get half an answer they will exploit it and get a cover.

“Partly yes it is Barcelona talking about it when really they shouldn't.

“But they are also being forced by a media that is always hungry for stories.”