Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits he would rather have sold Robin van Persie to a foreign side, than to Manchester United.
Arsenal and United agreed a fee in the region of £24million for Van Persie on Wednesday night, with the 29-year-old completing his move to Old Trafford on Friday.
And Wenger, who has admitted he had to sell to a Premier League rival to avoid his skipper leaving Emirates Stadium for nothing next summer, would have preferred to do business with a club outside of the English top-flight.
"To strengthen an enemy is the other negative point of this loss," Wenger told TF1.
"We wanted to avoid it but we couldn't. Honestly, I'd rather sell him abroad, to Paris Saint-Germain for example.
"Manchester United know him and know his qualities. He's really an exceptional player, believe me."
Wenger also admits new signings Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud have a "tough challenge" to replace the Dutchman.
"Van Persie is a great player so it's always sad to lose such a player. But we must consider the economic reality and the will of the player," he added.
"When you can't succeed in extending the contract of a player that is in its last year, there is no other way but to let him go.
"It's sad because he played for us for eight years. He's 29 now. He was 21 when he came and it's another bitter pill to swallow.
"A lot has happened before and we survived it all, but this is a real challenge because Van Persie scored 30 [Premier League]goals in a year, almost one per game.
"It's a tough challenge for our new forwards to replace him."