Official: Barcelona confirm signing of Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas

The 24-year-old midfielder returns to Camp Nou on a five-year-deal, bringing an end to one of the most protracted transfer sagas in modern times
From Arsenal
Cesc Fabregas
Fee: €34 million
Contract: Jun 2016

Barcelona have officially announced the signing of Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas on a five-year deal that could be worth as much as €39 million to the north Londoners. The Catalans will pay an initial guaranteed fee of €29m for the midfielder in two installments due before September, with another €5m owed if Barca win two league titles or a Champions League crown within the first three years of the player's contract, while a further €5m is to be paid by the midfielder himself out of his own salary spread across the duration of his contract at €1m a year.

The Catalans had been chasing their former youth team midfielder for three summers and finally agreed a deal to sign the 24-year-old on Monday following weeks of arduous negotiations with the north London outfit.

Both clubs already announced on Sunday evening that they had reached an agreement in principle over the transfer and Fabregas has now agreed personal terms and completed his medical.

Barca announced the deal on their official website, saying: "Cesc has signed a contract that will keep him with Barcelona until 2016. He has a limited fee release clause of €200m."

Speaking at his unveiling at Camp Nou, Fabregas said: "I have waited many years for this moment to come. It is a very special day for me. I come back home after eight years, and this is the biggest challenge of my life, but I know that with your help, I will prevail."

On Friday, defenders Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique had welcomed their friend and international team-mate to the Catalan club on Twitter.

Pique had claimed that "today will be a great day" and later all but confirmed the deal as he tweeted: "We now have him here".

Puyol then showed his delight at the prospective move as he wrote: "Welcome home!!! Happy to have you here @cesc4official".

   Friends reunited | Xavi and Cesc will form a formidable midfield at Camp Nou

The deal brings an end to one of the most drawn-out transfer sagas in recent memory, with Cesc having reiterated his "dream" of a Camp Nou return on numerous occasions, while also revealing his frustration at a lack of silverware at Arsenal - without a trophy since 2005.

And Barca coach Pep Guardiola, usually coy on his club's transfer targets, claimed recently that his side were eager to capture the Catalan midfielder, revealing that the Arsenal captain was the only other player his side were looking to add to their squad this summer, having already completed the signing of Chile winger Alexis Sanchez from Udinese in a deal worth up to €37.5m.

Guardiola has long admired Fabregas, once telling the midfielder: "One day, you will be Barcelona's No 4."

That was the youngster's goal as he grew up idolising the then-Barca captain, but Cesc saw his path to the first team blocked by a golden generation of Camp Nou midfielders and decided to move to Arsenal as a 16-year-old instead.

However, following eight successful years - and 303 appearances for the Gunners - he now returns to the club he supported while growing up.

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger had claimed he would fight hard to retain both Fabregas and wantaway France midfielder Samir Nasri, but the latter is now likely to follow the former out of the Emirates.

The midfielder was left out of the Gunners' squad to face Newcastle in Saturday's Premier League opener and is said to have been struggling with a hamstring injury but is expected to be close to a return to full fitness and could make a sensational debut for Barca in Wednesday's Supercopa clash against the Catalans' fierce rivals Real Madrid.