Johan Djourou is fully aware of Cesc Fabregas' importance to Arsenal and has urged his skipper to stay.
Reports continue to suggest that the Spaniard could be heading to Barcelona this summer, with the Primera Liga giants having led a very public chase of his services.
Arsene Wenger has been able to spurn their advances so far, insisting his captain is not for sale, but Barca are proving difficult to deter.
Whether they prove successful in their efforts, or are forced to wait a further 12 months, remains to be seen but they will not be giving up without a fight.
Swiss centre-half Djourou is among those hoping Fabregas will stay for at least one more season, as he admits the Catalan native is 'vital' to Arsenal's hopes of ending a five-year wait for a major trophy.
"We all know that Fabregas is an important player for us. He is a great player," said the defender.
"It is vital that he stays with us so we can keep the team together because that's the most important thing - that we keep all the players.
"We need him. It's his decision and we can't do anything about it but I hope he stays."
Djourou is confident that should the Gunners be able to retain the core of their squad, they are capable of taking the Premier League crown for the first time since 2003/04.
"We can't wait to get the season started," he said.
"Now we are ready to deliver. We have been saying this for years but we have been missing that little bit.
"Now I believe we are ready to push for first place. We want to be up there. We now have the quality to do it."
The 23-year-old is also determined to play a leading role for Wenger's side this season, having been restricted to just one outing by a serious knee problem last term.
He added: "It was frustrating last season because I was hoping for a great season and I ended up just watching the guys play from the sidelines.
"Now I'm really up for it and ready for the season. It is a very good chance for me to break into the team with all the players that have left (Sol Campbell and William Gallas).
"I feel a lot better and stronger now I'm back from injury. Now it's up to me to prove that I'm still good enough to play in week in, week out."