Arsene Wenger has rejected suggestions that the imminent departure of Cesc Fabregas means Arsenal should no longer be regarded as a member of Europe's elite.
Gunners skipper Fabregas is on the brink of completing a long-expected return to Barcelona after eight years in North London.
The Emirates Stadium outfit could see their midfield options reduced even further with Samir Nasri a transfer target of big-spending Premier League rivals Manchester City.
But Wenger has pointed to the example of Manchester United, who allowed star man Cristiano Ronaldo to depart for Real Madrid in an £80million deal in 2009, but remain at the forefront fighting for honours at home and abroad.
In his press conference prior to the season opener at Newcastle on Saturday evening, he said: "Manchester United let (Cristiano) Ronaldo go, do you think they are not a big club?"
Too many players
And the Frenchman was also adamant he was in no hurry to bring new players in.
"Do we want to buy? I don't know because at the moment we have too big a squad, we have too many players," he added.
Wenger expects Arsenal to challenge for the Premier League title, despite the uncertainty that now shrouds the Emirates Stadium.
He said: "We feel we were very close last year and that we can improve from what we achieved last year. We will be in there, don't worry.
"Why? Because we are a young team and a young team can only get better."