Barcelona have made the symbolic gesture of keeping their No 4 clear for Cesc Fabregas as they enter 2011 determined to finally prise the midfielder from Arsenal.
The Catalans had to abandon a bid for the Gunners skipper last summer when their £29million bid was dismissed as derisory in north London.
Fabregas has made no secret of his desire to return to the club where he came through the ranks before leaving for England as a 16-year-old in 2003.
But the Spain World Cup winner also feels a great debt to Arsene Wenger and the team that have shown so much faith in his ability and would only want to leave at the right time, if it is a good deal for all parties.
Barcelona will tug at his heart strings even more by offering the No 4 shirt - the iconic jersey worn by Fabregas's idol Pep Guardiola, the former midfielder who is now gaining almost as much credit as Camp Nou coach.
The 23-year-old said earlier this year: 'Guardiola has always been my idol since childhood. I played in his position and I noticed him. My coach even gave me a shirt signed by him.'
True colours: Fabregas is forced into a Barca shirt by Spain team-mates (from left) Pepe Reina, Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol as they celebrate winning the World Cup last summer
Catalan newspaper El Mundo Deportivo reports that club president Sandro Rosell is more determined than ever to land a player who is linked with a return home in every transfer window.
A January move is almost impossible, but an effort will be made in the summer to put together a bid that can tempt Arsene Wenger to part with his captain. The Arsenal boss denied earlier this year reports that there was an agreement Fabregas could leave in 2011 if he committed one more season to the Gunners.
Wenger said last summer: 'Look at the length of his contract and you will see he has five or six years to go. When you sign a contract it means we are committed to a player to pay him and keep him no matter what happens.'
Idol: Guardiola is honoured by his players after Barca's victory in the 2009 Champions League final
Rosell was hamstrung in a bid last summer by the dire finances he inherited on taking over from Joan Laporta.
However, a £140m four-year sponsorship agreement with the Qatar Foundation, plus further commercial deals in the pipeline, have put Barca on a firmer footing.
There is still an austerity programme and the Spanish champions will not do a deal at any price - as demonstrated by strained contract talks with Dani Alves - but the likely exits of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alex Hleb and Gabriel Milito next summer will add funds for reinforcements.
The No 4 shirt has been vacant since Mexico defender Rafa Marquez left for the MLS and has not been taking by any of the latest youth team graduates or new signing Ibrahim Afellay.
New blood: President Rosell (left) welcomes new signing Afellay to Barca just before Christmas
Barca directors are wary of speaking publicly about Fabregas after seeing how the tactic angered Arsenal last summer, but sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta admitted just before Christmas: 'Cesc will be discussed in the coming months.'
Arsenal are unlikely to roll over and let go of a player who is under contract till 2015, though the best way to keep him happy is to end a trophy drought that stretches back to 2005's FA Cup win over Manchester United.
Wenger's side are just three points of Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United after a confidence-boosting 3-1 win against Chelsea on Monday and they are also still competing in the Champions League. in which they face Barcelona in the last 16.
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