Arsene Wenger has explained why the departure of Alexis Sanchez will be less painful than that of Robin van Persie.
Sanchez is closing in on a move to Manchester United this month – the same journey Van Persie made when he left the Gunners in summer 2012.
Van Persie was an elusive Premier League title in his first season at Old Trafford, and scored 58 goals in 105 games for the Red Devils.
Wenger says letting the Dutchman go was difficult, while the fact that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will join as part of the Sanchez deal softens the blow.
“We took Van Persie when he played in the reserve team at Feyenoord,” Wenger said. “And we made a long work with him. When you get them there to the level and, after, they leave – of course that is the most painful and, after that, they do well for the other club.
“I would say our fans know Alexis will not extend his contract and they have accepted that idea. And the fact it will not be one-way traffic, it will be other way traffic as well [with Mkhitaryan] – that makes the whole thing a bit smoother, maybe, a bit less disappointing.”