Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri have been included in Arsenal's Champions League squad to face Udinese, as Arsene Wenger strengthens his resolve to retain both players.
Wenger's side play the Italians in a two-legged tie later this month, for a place in the Champions League group stages.
Nasri, linked with both Manchester United and Manchester City is match fit and his inclusion is therefore less of a surprise than that of Fabregas. The Arsenal captain has missed most of pre-season with a hamstring injury and his presence represents a bold gesture from Wenger as he attempts to keep his captain at the Emirates.
Should Fabregas or Nasri feature against Udinese at the Emirates on 16 Aug, or in the return leg in Friuli a week later, neither would be eligible to play in the Champions League with any other club, significantly reducing their transfer fee. Playing would, in all probability, end any possible move.
Nevertheless, striker Marouane Chamakh believes both his team-mates will be sold before the end of August.
"I think both are close to leaving," the Moroccan international told reporters in France.
"The manager is looking for replacements, has not found them, and before letting [Fabregas and Nasri] go, he wants to have someone to fill each of their positions."
Barcelona have thus far failed to meet Arsenal's £40m valuation of Fabregas, despite on-going negotiations between the two sides. Manchester City are yet to formalise their interest in Nasri but reports suggest the Gunners have conceded defeat in their effort to persuade the France international to sign a new contract.
Talks are expected between the two sides later this week and France coach Laurent Blanc believes a move is imminent:
"I just know that he is in talks with his club. Not to extend his contract because he said he would not, but to change club," Blanc is quoted as saying.
"I personally can't wait for this to happen, because psychologically, it is never easy to play in a team and to not be sure whether you will start the season or leave."
Wenger has already signed the Cote d'Ivore forward Gervinho and Southampton youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this summer but remains keen to bolster his defensive options, with Birmingham's Scott Dann a target.
Attention has turned to the £8m-rated Dann after Wenger's primary target, Everton's Phil Jagielka, indicated he would remain at Goodison Park.
"He's not come out and said he wants to go anywhere, so I guess that means he wants to stay," Jagielka's Everton team-mate Sylvain Distin told the Telegraph.
"I don't think any players want to leave here to be honest."
Dann, 24, is also a target for Liverpool, while scouts from both clubs watched Bolton's Gary Cahill last week.
Meanwhile, midfielder Andrey Arshavin could move to Anzhi Makhachkala, as the Russian side prepare to step up their interest in the unsettled midfielder.
Sources in Russia suggest the club's billionaire owner, Suleyman Kerimov, is eager to bring the Russian international to Anzhi having already signed Roberto Carlos earlier this year.