Arsenal have agreed to negotiate the sale of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, according to the European champions' coach Pep Guardiola.
Barca were rebuffed by Arsenal in their pursuit of Fabregas 12 months but are hoping to persuade the Gunners to part with their influential skipper this summer.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Guardiola was quoted as saying on the Barcelona website: "We were interested last year, but Arsenal did not put him on the market. This year they've agreed to negotiate and we will try to reach an agreement."
Guardiola added: "You all know about Barca's interest in Cesc. There is money set aside for this player and until the last day we will try to bring in Cesc because he will make the squad better. I hope that something can be sorted. Until August 31 there is time, but at times things don't always work out."
Guardiola also spoke out against the possibility of Fabregas, who missed Arsenal's Asia tour to nurse a troublesome hamstring, forcing his exit from the Gunners, saying: "I think that Cesc has to do what Arsenal ask. For me I wouldn't like one of my players to say 'now I'm not training because I want to go'."
Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta added about the Primera Division champions' interest in Fabregas: "The position towards Arsenal is one of maximum respect because the club own the player. Also towards the player (himself).
"From there, our position is to try and see eye to eye (on a deal), creating proposals that may be of interest, while always maintaining the maximum respect. We don't have a style of doing things by force."
However, while midfielder Fabregas remains near the top of Barca's wish-list, Guardiola believes strengthening the attack is currently the most pressing matter.
Guardiola, whose club are set to sell Bojan Krkic to Roma, said: "The priority is an attacker."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.