Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants the future of Robin van Persie to be resolved before the start of the new Premier League season.
Manchester United are favourites to win the race to sign the 28-year-old, who earlier this month confirmed that he has no plans to sign an extension to his Arsenal contract, which has a further 12 months to run.
United, rivals Manchester City, and Italian champions Juventus have all lodged bids for Van Persie in the last week, but Arsenal are refusing to let him leave without their valuation being met.
Wenger has conceded his captain could be on the move this summer (see Related Articles), but is keen to keep hold of the influencial forward.
However, the Frenchman admits he would rather the long-running saga is sorted out one way or another well before the summer transfer deadline.
Speaking in Malaysia, Wenger said: "Van Persie is a world-class striker and I am a big supporter of him. I have supported him through his whole career. He has one year left and is in demand but our desire is to keep him.
"However, we will do what is in best interest of the club. If you have a decoder in your head you can decode that.
"The official transfer deadline is August 31 but then we can create an internal deadline."
Asked if that deadline was before the new Premier League season kicks off on August 18th, he replied: "Of course. I believe the transfer market should stop before the season starts anyway."
Wenger also insists Van Persie's decision should not be seen as an indication of whether or not the club are ambitious.
He added: "We are very, very ambitious. You know that. Not only very ambitious, but also very proud of the way we run our club.
"For me, the size of a club is down to the size of the support. It can be the size of the cheque book to others but, for me, it's the size of the support.
"You cannot question the size of the support. You cannot question the size of the club when one player leaves or stays. That's not linked."
AC Milan, Barcelona, and Real Madrid have also shown interest in Van Persie in recent weeks.