The Arsenal football manager Arsene Wenger admits losing striker Robin van Persie to Manchester United has dented his side's Premier League title ambitions before the season has even started.
Wenger leads his side into their opening Premier League game of the season against Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium just days after van Persie sealed his 22 million pound $NZ 40 million transfer to Old Trafford.
The departure of the Dutch international, Arsenal's captain and leading goalscorer last season, is a significant loss for Wenger.
But the fact van Persie has joined one of the Gunner's main rivals has only added to the manager's frustration, who would have preferred to see his star forward move abroad.
After seven years without a trophy and a succession of big-name departures, Arsenal may once again have to settle for a top-four finish rather than significant silverware.