London - Catalan sports paper Mundo Deportivo claimed on Tuesday that there was a "secret agreement" between Arsenal and Barcelona regarding the transfer of Cesc Fabregas.
Mundo Deportivo said that the deal "was very close to becoming reality," despite Arsenal's insistence that they will not consider selling their 23 year-old captain, who helped Spain to win the Soccer World Cup.
The paper claimed that the negotiations between the two clubs are being "carried out with extreme discretion", in the same silent way that new Barca president Sandro Rosell bought left-back Adriano from Sevilla last week - his first signing for the club.
Mundo Deportivo said that Rosell will not pay Arsenal more than €45 million for Fabregas, who left the Barca youth sections for Arsenal when aged just 16. The official announcement will be made "before the weekend."
However, only 18 percent of Mundo Deportivo readers believe that Barca will sign Fabregas before the end of July, according to a poll published on Tuesday. Meanwhile, 45 percent believe that he will arrive in August, 37 percent think he will stay at Arsenal.
Rival daily Sport, for its part, claimed on Tuesday that Fabregas "feels disappointed" with Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger for not having kept his word, allegedly given in May, to allow the youngster to return to the Camp Nou.
Sport said that Fabregas intends to "make his feelings clear" to Wenger on Friday, when they meet in London.