Arsenal 'have always survived' after losing star players says Arsene Wenger following sale of Robin van Persie

 

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.

PA

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week