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Arsene Wenger is selling his captain for the fourth time in seven years, and the former player believes strengthening a "massive rival" is a negative heading into the new season

Ray Parlour believes the imminent departure of captain Robin van Persie to Manchester United is a "big blow" for Arsenal.

It was announced on Wednesday that the Premier League pair has reached an agreement over the fee for the striker, with the player set to travel to Manchester on Thursday to complete a medical.

The transfer will see Arsenal lose their captain for the fourth time in seven years, joining the likes of Patrick Viera, Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas out of the door, and Ray Parlour believes the latest departure is a “big blow” for his former side.

He told talkSPORT: “It’s been years since Arsenal sold a player to Manchester United. I think [the last] was Frank Stapleton [in 1981].

“They were always our massive rivals and I know we sold a lot of players to Manchester City but Manchester United were always our rivals and we didn’t want to help them.

“It’s a big blow for Arsenal but I’m just hoping with the money they receive from the transfer that Arsene Wenger has got a replacement in mind.”

Wenger has already been very busy in the transfer market ahead of this latest development, bringing in striking duo Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud from Koln and Montpellier respectively.

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