Arsenal’s Wenger admits frustration at losing players at their peak

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits his frustration at losing some of his key players while they are in their prime

robin van persie
Robin van Persie signed for Manchester United in a £24m deal last week Photo: Nike

robin van persie

Arsene Wenger has admitted his frustration at watching a host of Arsenal’s star players leave the club while they are at their peak in recent seasons.

Alex Song is the latest first-team regular set for an Emirates exit after Barcelona agreed a £14.9m deal with the Gunners just a day after Robin van Persie was unveiled as a Manchester United player.

This summer’s two headline exits come after Cesc Fàbregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy all departed for pastures new last year.

And the Arsenal boss admits the financial clout of Europe’s top clubs has made it difficult for the Gunners to hold onto their top players.

“It is frustrating [to lose players who are at their peak], we have learnt to deal with that,” said Wenger. “I believe as well that the financial potential of some clubs is massive and that makes a difference.”

Wenger’s side were held to a goalless draw by Sunderland in their Premier League opener at The Emirates on Saturday but the Frenchman refused to dwell on whether the Gunners would have won the game with Van Persie at their disposal.

“Maybe people are right [that he would have made a difference], maybe they are wrong – you can never check that,” he continued.

“We have played some draws at home with Van Persie, we have lost some games with Van Persie as well.

“It’s true that last year in every game he found something special. I never denied that we lost a world-class player, that is very difficult to replace.

“I feel that [Lukas] Podolski is not [physically] ready yet but he has the quality, and [Olivier] Giroud you could see has a presence when he is on the pitch in this position.

“Manchester United looked everywhere, if they didn’t buy anybody else and went for Van Persie at 29 years of age, it’s because they realised that quality is difficult to find on the market.”

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