Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has defended Arsene Wenger over the sales of Arsenal stars Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas. Ferguson does not believe Arsenal had any option, other than to accept the £24million on offer from Manchester City.
"We are all in the same boat," said the United chief.
"When a player gets to the last two years of his contract you have an issue. One: you persuade him to sign a new contract. Two: he doesn't want to sign a new contract. Three: When he gets to that last year it is almost inevitable you have a problem.
"We have had issues at times with players getting into the last year. We are not alone.
"When a player is not going to sign a contract you can threaten to keep him for another year and not get anything for him or capitalise and get the money.
"It is sensible to take the money."
Ferguson recognises the clear difference between that situation and the one that ended with Fabregas leaving for Barcelona.
United faced much the same problem with Cristiano Ronaldo, whom Ferguson managed to keep at Old Trafford for six seasons before accepting a world record £80million fee from Real Madrid to allow the winger to follow his childhood dream.
"The issue is how long do you think you are going to have European players?" he said. "We like to think they will stay forever. Some have been very good that way.
"With Cristiano he always had this dream of wanting to play for Real Madrid.
"Fabregas wanted to go back to Barcelona. You cannot become bitter about these things because it is the modern world."