Barcelona midfielder Xavi believes Arsenal are merely "delaying the inevitable" by preventing Cesc Fabregas from joining the Spanish champions.
Fabregas was the subject of a reported £30million approach by the Catalan club prior to the World Cup but the Gunners are reluctant to part with their prize asset, who has five years left on his current contract.
Arsenal appeared to gain the upper hand in the protracted saga when Barca coach Pep Guardiola conceded on Monday that the north London club would have the final say on the 23-year-old's future.
But Xavi, a member of Spain's victorious World Cup squad alongside Fabregas, is confident a deal will be reached to take the former Barcelona trainee back to the Nou Camp - be it this summer or next.
"We know where Cesc wants to be this coming season, but perhaps there is not enough time for Barcelona and Arsenal to agree a deal," Xavi told the Daily Express.
"Arsenal need to understand they are only delaying the inevitable.
"If we don't manage to get his signature this season then Arsenal only really have him on loan for a year - because there is nothing they can do to stop him joining next summer.
"I haven't given up on him joining us this season but, if he doesn't, it won't be more than a year before he is back home.
"His people will have a whole season to sort out the deal between the two clubs and it will happen at the very latest next summer."
Xavi claims Fabregas told his international team-mates he was keen on joining Barcelona while on World Cup duty.
"We were all with him for five weeks in South Africa and we know he wants to be at Barcelona, he made it very clear," Xavi added.
"But he will under no circumstances do anything that will upset the Arsenal fans. And that's probably why we are going to have to wait for him for another year."Reuse content