Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas' move to European champion Barcelona appeared to be nearing completion Friday, bringing to an end one of soccer's longest-running transfer sagas.
The Spanish midfielder was heading to Barcelona for a medical Friday, Sky Sports reported, hoping to be unveiled Saturday as a player back at his boyhood club.
A Barca spokesman said, "We hope to announce [the deal's completion] within hours. We have to put the finishing touches to a few details, and when they are finished, we will announce the signing."
Sky Sports soccer expert Guillem Balague first reported that the deal was "done," although Arsenal responded by saying that an agreement still had to be finalized.
Balague said Fabregas, 24, was expected to travel to Madrid with his new teammates ahead of the first leg of the Spanish Supercup against rival Real Madrid on Sunday.
Arsenal will receive £29.8 million ($48.5 million) in the sale and a possible further £5.2 million if Barcelona wins two La Liga titles and the Champions League during Fabregas' time at the Nou Camp, The (London) Times reported.
The English Premier League (EPL) club previously refused three bids in the region of £30 million this summer.
Spain teammates Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol both tweeted their delight at the reports that Fabregas was joining them at club level. Pique celebrated the move, saying, "He's finally here!!"
Sky Sports reported sources that claimed Barca boss Pep Guardiola was unhappy with his players' public reaction and wanted Fabregas to remain in England until after Sunday's Supercup game.
Fabregas was developed by Barcelona before leaving in 2003, at the age of 16, to sign for Arsenal, where he emerged under Arsene Wenger's tutelage as one of the world's biggest midfield talents.
The playmaker was known to have desired a return to the Catalan club for the past few seasons, only to see the teams fail to agree terms on a deal, while he refused to put in a transfer request.
Wenger earlier confirmed that Fabregas would not be included in the squad for Saturday's opening EPL game at Newcastle United, though he refused to speculate on transfer talk.
French midfielder Samir Nasri, who is reportedly closing in on a move to Manchester City, will also miss the trip to St. James' Park.