Arsenal icon Gilberto Silva admits the Gunners could be left with a tough task if star man Alexis Sanchez decides to leave the club.
The Chilean is out of contract next summer with one season left on his current deal and is currently the subject of hot transfer speculation, particularly from Manchester City.
Sanchez has made clear he wants to play Champions League football, but Arsenal failed to achieve that mark in the 2016-17 season, finishing fifth.
“My idea is to play in the Champions League and to win it. It is a dream I’ve had since I was little,” Sanchez said.
“The truth is that the decision (to stay or go) does not depend so much on me. I have made my decision.
“But now we have to wait for Arsenal’s answer, depending on them and what they want.”
Silva hoped Sanchez would remain a Gunner, but insisted the club’s players could not let his next move affect their preparations for the new Premier League season.
“When he returns from holiday … and sits down with Arsene (Wenger) especially, to speak clearly on exactly what he wants, to stay at the club or leave,” he said.
“It will be hard, but life continues. Arsenal will keep doing what they want to. Players come, players go.
“But it will be hard to replace a player like him.
“I hope, apart from that, that the players don’t put so much attention, (and) concentrate on what they have to do for the season.”
Arsenal are currently in China on the next phase of their preseason tour and are due to open the season at home against Leicester City.