Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has insisted that Robin van Persie's departure away from Manchester United was a 'big surprise', reports the Daily Mail.
Van Persie, who left the Emirates in favour of a move to Old Trafford just three years ago, completed a move to Turkish outfit Fenerbahce earlier this week in a deal worth just £3.84 million.
The Dutch international endured a tricky campaign under the guidance of Louis van Gaal last term as he failed to produce the goods week in, week out for the Red Devils, while he failed to maintain his fitness throughout the course of the campaign.
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Despite his problems, though, the striker's record in Manchester was a fine one, and his former boss has insisted that the forward will be a big loss for English football.
In fact, Wenger has claimed that the Dutchman was one of the best players he has ever managed, as he told reporters: "It was a big surprise.
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"He is a loss for English football because he’s an exceptional player, one of best I’ve managed, with an exceptional technique.
"I don’t know what happened why he leaves but he’s a loss to the Premier League."
The right time
It's not entirely surprising that the striker's move away from Manchester came as a surprise for Wenger, but perhaps it was the right time for the Dutchman to leave the Premier League behind.
At the end of the day, after a glorious debut campaign at Old Trafford, the forward has failed to find his best form in recent years and he wouldn't have been content with sitting on the bench in his latter years in the game.
At 31, Van Persie still has a great deal to give, but he often looked out of place in the United side last term, finding himself isolated and struggling for opportunities.
But who will replace him in Manchester?
Many will no doubt expect Wayne Rooney to take the No.1 striker role at the club, while new signing Memphis Depay may even be handed a role in attack under the new regime.
However, with Colombian Radamel Falcao also having departed, Van Gaal surely has to add one more striker to his ranks. No doubt either of Karim Benzema or Edinson Cavani would prove fine coups for the Red Devils, while English youngster Harry Kane would be a great long-term signing, but it certainly won't be easy to land him from Premier League rivals Tottenham.
Who should replace Van Persie? Have your say below!