London - Jack Wilshere has said on Thursday that Cesc Fabregas had been Arsenal's greatest loss of recent times in the transfer market.
The England midfielder said he was "really upset" when the Spain star left the London club for Barcelona in 2011.
And Wilshere insisted Fabregas was an even bigger loss, as far as he was concerned, than Robin van Persie, even though the Dutchman's goals played a key role in Manchester United winning the Premier League title last season.
However, with club-record signing Mesut Ozil in fine form and the Gunners four points clear at the top of this term's Premier League table, Wilshere was optimistic about Arsenal's prospects.
"The one I was really upset about leaving was Fabregas, I learned so much from just watching him," Wilshere told Arsenal's website. "He's similar to me starting at a young age.
"I was the most upset about him leaving. But to arrive I'm excited about Ozil, he's settled in nicely.
"His first game away at Sunderland he got an assist and was man of the match.
"He plays the Arsenal way and I think there's a lot more to come.
"He's so comfortable on the ball, right foot, left foot.
"If you look at his stats he runs the most, he makes it look easy but that only masks how hard he works."
Meanwhile Wilshere thanked long-serving Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger for the way in which the Frenchman had guided his career.
"He's been the main person in my career: he gave me a chance when I was 16.
"He gave me special care, put his arm around me, he picked me out and gave me the chance to train with the first team every day and that helped my career massively, just learning from the way they play.
"Sending me on loan to Bolton, learning to play the Premier League way, that was important too.
"Some games I didn't play well but he still stuck with me when I made mistakes. If you make mistakes he sticks with you, and that's huge.
"I feel like I've been around for a long time now, I should be used to playing week in, week out.
"I'm 21 but in football ages I'm a bit older than that. I've got a few years' experience and hopefully that can help me, so I'm looking forward to the next three to four years."