Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has stated that seeing Kieran Gibbs leave the Emirates Stadium was harder for him than that of the departure of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, claiming it was like losing a member of his family.
The 27-year-old defender exited the Gunners on the eve of transfer deadline day, joining West Bromwich Albion for £6.75m after an initial deal with Watford had fallen through.
The 10-times capped England international made the switch from Wimbledon's youth set-up at the age of 10, and progressed through the ranks with the club before making his debut eight years later.
Gibbs then went onto make 230 appearances for the senior side, but was limited to just 11 Premier League outings last campaign and the arrival of Sead Kolasinac this summer meant that the left-back's game time would most likely deplete again.
But Arsenal are now also without Oxlade-Chamberlain, who joined Liverpool this summer, and even though the pacy winger drastically developed under Wenger's watchful gaze, the French manager was more affected by his defender's departure.
"Of course", the 67-year-old told the Evening Standard when asked if selling Gibbs was like losing a member of his family.
"And I believe that for (players that leave) it must be difficult to make that step as well. Overall it's true that with Gibbs (it hurt) more than Chamberlain because he had been educated at Arsenal from the age of 10.
"When he arrived he was a left-winger. I transformed him into a full-back because he was not necessarily rated as a guy who would make it as a left winger but I saw something in him that was very intelligent, with pace, that made me feel he could make it as a left-back.
"(Academy players) carry the values that you think are important, which are based on mental qualities, humility, respect and commitment, and as well football qualities which means you always try to play in a positive way. Plus real team play and focusing on a collective way."
Gibbs will now get the chance to face his former manager as West Brom travel to Arsenal on Monday night in the Premier League.