By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger believes that Arsenal have the "desire and strength" to deal with the loss of Cesc Fabregas.
The Spaniard ended an eight-year spell in North London by agreeing to join Barcelona on Sunday night. Ahead of the Champions League tie with Udinese, the Arsenal manager spelt out that, in the end, the deal was driven by the player's wish to return to his hometown club.
"We lost a world-class player and we are sad about that," said Wenger. "We fought to keep him but in the end we have to respect the desire of the player as well. This Club is 125 years-old this season and many big players left and yet the Club went on. We want to show that we have the strengths and unity to fight as we ever did at this Club.
"What is important now is to focus on our targets. Life goes on and we want to show we have the needed desire and strength to deal with the situation.
"It was my decision and I submitted that decision to the board and to the chairman.
"Everybody has his opinion but, at the end of the day, you have to make decisions. To get the best out of a player, he needs to be completely committed to where he is and Cesc wanted to go back to his home city.
"But if you understand one thing, it is Cesc did not go for financial reasons, or that he did not love this Club. Cesc went because he was desperate to play for his hometown team, where he was educated. It is very difficult to resist to that.
"But we wish good luck to Cesc, who is a great player, and in my opinion one of the best players in the world."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 15 Aug 2011