Barcelona are saving their famous No 4 shirt for Cesc Fabregas because they are convinced Arsenal’s refusal to sell him has only delayed his arrival one more year.
Nobody at the club will wear No 4 this season.
Barcelona and Spain midfielder Xavi said: ‘If the signing has not happened this year, it will happen next.’
Spain team-mate Andres Iniesta said: ‘When you talk with him (Fabregas), you realise how excited he was about the prospect (of joining Barca).
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique believes his international team-mate Cesc Fabregas will sign for the Catalan club one day.
Barca chased Arsenal captain Fabregas all summer, but ended up missing out on a deal as the 23-year-old pledged his loyalty to the Gunners – at least in the short term.
But Pique, who forced a Barca shirt over Fabregas’ head in Spain’s World Cup celebrations in Madrid last month, believes his close friend will play for Barca sooner or later.
‘Cesc will one day sign for Barca,’ he said.
Pique missed Barca’s 3-1 defeat by Sevilla in the first leg of the Spanish Supercup on Saturday, along with the rest of his side’s World Cup winners.
The eight players had only been back in training for a matter of days and were also obliged to travel out to Mexico for an international friendly match.
Coach Pep Guardiola saw his squad stretched by that situation, and Barca have been short of numbers at the end of the last two campaigns as well.
This time around, Barca have signed David Villa from Valencia and utility man Adriano from Sevilla, but Yaya Toure has left the club to join Manchester City.
Cesc Fabregas has admitted he only stayed at Arsenal because he was given no choice.
The Spain midfielder also says he believes there is no reason why he cannot play in the same team as Barca stars Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
Fabregas said: ‘Barcelona did all they could to sign me but Arsenal told me I had to stay, that there was no way they were going to let me go.
‘In the end I had to stay — but the content of my conversation with Arsene Wenger will remain private.’