Arsene Wenger should give in to Cesc Fabregas and let him leave for Barcelona as payback for his service to Arsenal over the last seven years, says the player's father, Francesc.
Fabregas Snr said the family was grateful to Arsenal for the way Cesc had matured under Wenger but that now the manager should release him.
"I don't know how it will end but I believe that the decision made by the player needs to be respected," Fabregas Snr said. "Cesc has never let Arsène Wenger down in terms of the way he has worked for the team. We are also grateful to Arsenal for turning our boy into a man, but we just want it sorted out quickly. At the moment he has a contract with Arsenal. I get the feeling they don't want to sell him but that they will give in eventually."
That belief is not shared by the former Arsenal midfielder Robert Pires, who backed Wenger to cling on to his captain. Pires, who is looking for a club after parting company with Villarreal at the end of last season, said: "He is too important to Wenger to be allowed to leave. I think he will be there for a long time yet. Arsène wants to return the club to the top and to do that he needs to have Fabregas."
Both sides now believe they hold the upper hand as the battle for the player looks set to carry on into the World Cup. Sources close to the Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, say that Fabregas's people have already agreed the player's personal terms and therefore he would not need to be distracted from Spain's World Cup preparations should Arsenal decide to do business.
But Arsenal know that the value of their player – who, with 15 goals last season, outscored the entire Barcelona midfield put together – will only go up should the World Cup favourites Spain win the tournament. They are also aware that certain players whom Barcelona could buy if they don't end up spending on Fabregas may have already been signed by their rivals Real Madrid. Valencia's David Silva could end up at the Nou Camp if Fabregas stays in London, but his agent is already understood to have spoken to Madrid.
The Cesc saga's biggest losers could be Vicente del Bosque's Spain team. The Barcelona captain and Fabregas's international team-mate Carles Puyol said: "It is very rare that you see Cesc anxious but all of this is a bit of a problem for him, because people are talking about it every day and he has a coach and supporters and team-mates that need to be respected. He is a fantastic player and a great friend and I believe that he is perfect for Barcelona. I would love to see him sign but he has a contract with another club and that fact has to be respected."
Fabregas Snr added: "The negotiations between Arsenal and Barcelona are going to be very long. Both sides are going to have to sit down several times because the matter is very complicated. Fabregas is very focused on the Spain side but he wants the signing wrapped up as soon as possible."