By Rob Kelly

Despite his disappointment at losing his captain, Arsène Wenger has hailed Robin van Persie’s professionalism during his time at the Club.

The Dutch striker completed his move to Manchester United on Friday after making it clear he would not extend his stay at Emirates Stadium.

Wenger says the sale is part of the “brutal reality” of top-level football, but says supporters should not forget Van Persie’s contribution down the years.

“I am not a specialist on time healing but there will be a frustration [among some fans] of course,” the Frenchman said. “He has played for us for eight years, you have to respect what he has done for our club, what he did last year.

“This is a situation that is a completely brutal reality of professional sport. Robin was captain of the team last year and I give him credit until the last minute of the whole season [because] he fought like mad.

“For me that is to be professional. He comes in afterwards and wants to go? I don't like it. But that is being professional again. But being professional until the last minute of his stay at the club.

“He gave 100 per cent and last year he kept us [up] there - it is a miracle we finished third. A big part of the miracle is down to him and you have to give him credit for that.”

While Wenger is “concerned” about losing players to clubs offering huge salaries, he believes the implementation of Financial Fair Play regulations means it is a short-term problem.

“It is a concern,” he admitted. “But you say we live outside of reality? No, we live in the economic reality that other clubs do not. There are some things we cannot afford to do, it is as simple as that.

“Honestly, I think it is a short-term problem - the world cannot go on like this. You cannot imagine that the world will go on just splashing money out without any return because people will get tired of that as you’ll only have a few clubs competing with each other.

“[Financial Fair Play] will make a big difference, how quickly I cannot answer because I am not responsible for putting it in place.”

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
17 Aug 2012