The proposed transfer of Spain international Cesc Fabregas from Arsenal to Barcelona has moved a step closer after the Catalan giants confirmed they were in official negotiations with the Gunners to sign the midfielder.
The 23-year-old now seems certain to return to the club he left seven years ago after expressing his desire to move to the Camp Nou last month.
A brief statement on Barcelona's official website read: "An informal conversation with Arsenal became formal on 1 June and now an official approach has been made to the club."
Fabregas has developed into one of the most complete midfielders during his time with the Gunners but his rise has coincided with a lack of on-pitch success for the club.
Fabregas has won just one FA Cup and one Community Shield during his time as a first-team regular and Barcelona midfielder Xavi believes he should move this summer for the sake of his career.
He said recently: "It is criminal for a player of Cesc's quality not to be winning the biggest prizes in football. He really has no choice but to leave. He is making the right decision and I hope Arsenal fans wish him well.
"Two years ago I said Cesc would end up playing for Barcelona and now I believe it is more likely than ever.
"He has also expressed publicly that he wants to come to Barcelona and when a player wants to move to some place he ends up going. It is clear that Cesc will come to Barcelona."
Fabregas has scored 48 goals in 267 appearances for Arsene Wenger's side since making his debut in October 2003.