Arsenal legend Ian Wright believes manager Arsene Wenger should swallow his pride and sell captain Robin van Persie this summer, despite the intention to keep the Dutch striker through the final year of his contract.
Van Persie revealed on Wednesday he would not be signing an extension to his current deal, which expires in the summer of 2013, and is set to become the latest big-name player to leave the club.
Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri are among those who have exchanged Arsenal's mediocrity for ambition further afield, and Wright says the endless stream of players leaving north London has to stop.
"How the hell did a club of Arsenal's standing and resources get to the point where they are forced to wave goodbye to at least one top star every year?" he said.
"Since Thierry Henry decided in 2007 he had to leave in order to win the Champions League there has been a steady stream of players through the exit door at The Emirates.
"Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Ashley Cole, Gael Clichy, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor have all gone on to bigger and better things since leaving.
"And it's nothing to do with money. It's about joining a club with the ambition to win major titles rather than one happy just to drift along in the top four.
"Arsenal stuck by him when he was struggling with injuries and now it looks like they want him to stay and see out his contract.
"But I have never believed in forcing an unhappy player to stay because it just doesn't work.
"So Arsene should swallow his pride and negotiate the best possible price for Robin so he can move on.
"And if that means RVP joining Manchester City, United or Chelsea, then so be it."
Van Persie netted 30 goals in the Premier League last season, and scooped a host of individual awards, including the Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year award.
His performances assisted in Arsenal finishing in third in the Premier League and qualifying for the Champions League, however a seven-year trophy drought has undermined the club's progression under Wenger.
Both City and United have subsequently been linked with a move for Van Persie, since the striker's admission he would not be extending his contract.
City, who pipped United to the title in the final moment of last season, are looking to build on a first domestic title for 44 years, and having shown a willingness to spend in the past, are likely to make significant additions to their squad again.
United meanwhile, who have already added Nick Powell and Shinji Kagawa to their ranks ahead of the new season, will be looking to compete with their near neighbours in the transfer market again.
The Gunners have previously stated they would prefer to miss out on a substantial fee for Van Persie this summer and keep him for another year, and will be especially keen to keep him from the clutches of their nearest rivals, who finished 19 points ahead last term.
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