Arsenal 'have always survived' after losing star players says Arsene Wenger following sale of Robin van Persie
Friday 17 August 2012
Arsene Wenger admits seeing captain Robin van Persie sold to Manchester United was a bitter pill to swallow, but he still believes Arsenal will compete without their star striker.
The Holland international is in the process of finalising the formalities of a £24million switch to Old Trafford, having earlier in the summer announced he would not be signing a new deal with the Gunners.
Press Association Sport understands Arsenal were prepared to make their key striker, who last season bagged 30 Premier League goals, the highest paid player in the club's history, but reluctantly agreed to sanction his departure when it became clear Van Persie wanted to move.
It is another blow to Wenger's vision of building a young squad capable of dominating Europe - having seen Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri also both leave last summer, while Cameroon midfielder Alex Song has been linked with a £15million switch to Barcelona.
The Arsenal manager admits Van Persie - who plundered 37 goals in all competitions in an injury-free season - will be tough to replace.
"Robin is an exceptional player in the pure sense of the term. I haven't seen many in my life who have that quality in the first touch, are so technically gifted and have that intelligence of movement in the final 20 metres," said Wenger, during a stint as a media pundit for French TV station TF1.
"Unfortunately, there is an economic reality and the desire of the player. There is no other way but to let him go.
"It is another pill to swallow, we have swallowed other ones and we have always survived, but he scored 30 goals for us in the league last season, practically one every match."
Wenger added: "The economic factor is the sole satisfying thing, but you don't play with money on the pitch, you play with the quality of the players. To lose a player of this ilk is tough."
The summer additions Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski will, however, go some way to offsetting the loss to the squad, as will the arrival of Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla.
Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen is now likely to inherit the captain's armband, and insists everyone must put the disappointment of losing Van Persie to one side as they prepare for tomorrow's kick-off against Sunderland at Emirates Stadium.
Brazil full-back echoed his team-mates' comments.
Santos told ESPN: "We lost a lot. Van Persie is a high quality player, a big idol of the fans and he had a great championship season in 2011/12, but I am sure the team is much more mature.
"Today we have experienced players and also the arrival of some new players, like Santi Cazorla and Podolski, who are excellent.
"We are well focused, the team is well prepared and well motivated
"We have brought in some top quality players and I am sure that Arsenal will have a great campaign in the English league."
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (ankle) and Theo Walcott (thigh) will be assessed after both pulled out of England's game against Italy in Berne with injuries.
Latest in Sport
Toni Kroos admits switch to Manchester United is 'a possibility for me'
Bayern Munich 1 Arsenal 1 - player ratings: Who scored highest for the Gunners – Mesut Ozil or Lukas Podolski?
The 10 funniest football chants revealed, with poll naming West Ham supporters as 'wittiest in the country'
Bayern Munich 1 Arsenal 1: Arjen Robben accused of being a 'very good diver' by Arsene Wenger after Gunners exit Champions League
Ian Wright breaks down in ITV documentary charting his rise to Arsenal and England striker
- 1 Hells of residence: Inside Macedonia's horrifying student accommodation - where the walls are green and the food is black
- 2 First Kiss video: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 3 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 4 Rampaging elephant smashes up house but then 'saves crying baby trapped under debris'
- 5 Ian Wright breaks down in ITV documentary charting his rise to Arsenal and England striker
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised