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The Spanish midfielder insists it is a thankless task to follow in the Dutchman's footsteps but backs the club's new signings to improve with time despite two scoreless appearances

Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has admitted that replacing the threat Robin van Persie poses is an impossible task.

The Dutchman notched 37 goals in all competitions last season for the club, but left for Manchester United in a £24 million deal.

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The Gunners had already acted in the transfer market to accommodate the loss of the striker, bringing in Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski from Montpellier and Koln respectively, but Arteta claims it would be unfair to expect any new arrival to match Van Persie’s feats.

“You can’t replace Robin. To do so is impossible because he’s such a special player,” Arteta told The Sun.

“Manchester United went for him at the age of 29 - what does that say? It says there aren’t many bigger talents in the world.

“It doesn’t matter who is brought in for Robin. You can’t ask anyone to be as good as him,” he stressed.

Arsenal have subsequently failed to score a single goal in their opening two Premier League games without their talisman, with Giroud and Podolski both afforded starting berths, but Arteta insists the duo will improve with time.

“We just need to give them time. It’s been two games. Olivier has started one game. It’s not fair on him,” the former Everton man continued.

“It could all change for him, just like that. Last week, Olivier had a massive chance to win the game and he would have been the hero.

“Against Stoke, Lukas had a chance. He looked good on the left on Sunday, cutting in and causing problems. He had a couple of chances.”

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