Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has described Cesc Fabregas as "perfect" for the Catalan giants on a day when the Arsenal captain's father expressed his belief that the Gunners will, reluctantly, end up allowing their prize asset to leave.
Fabregas has long been linked with a return to Barca, the club where he learnt his trade as a youngster before moving to Arsenal seven years ago as a 16-year-old. During his time in England Fabregas has developed into one of Europe's best midfielders and Barca, having last week spent 40 million euros on snapping up prolific Valencia striker David Villa, now look to have their sights set on bringing the 23-year-old back to the club.
Puyol, speaking at a press conference with Spain, said: "Cesc is an excellent player and a great friend. For me, he would be perfect for Barcelona. I would love to see him with the azulgrana, but we need to respect that he has a contract with his club."
Fabregas, who has a contract with Arsenal until 2014, revealed recently at a promotional event in Spain that he would like to return to Barca, and his father Francesc Fabregas confirmed today that the playmaker wants the transfer completed "as soon as possible".
Puyol said of his Spain squad-mate: "It's very unusual to see Cesc nervous, but all this is a little problematic for him, because it's a matter that is being talked about daily and he has fans, a coach and team-mates that he needs to respect."
However, it seems that there may be no quick resolution to what could be a long-running transfer saga.
Barca corporate director general Joan Oliver confirmed on Monday evening they have been in contact with Arsenal regarding Fabregas but insists they have not yet made an offer.
Oliver also said there was no deadline by which time Barca hoped to seal the signing of the Arsenal talisman.
"Still there is no offer. It's true that the player has shown his desire to play at Barca, possibly this season. We have made a first contact with Arsenal, letting them know our intention to talk and this is the current state of the situation," Oliver said on his club's website.
"There is no time-frame. The period is from today and until the deadline for registering players at the end of August. We are in no rush and you never know how long these operations can last."