Arsenal have received the news they have been dreading, with captain Robin van Persie confirming on his official website he would not be signing a new deal with the club.
Van Persie, 28, has been the Gunners' standout player in recent years and at times carried the side last season, scoring 30 Barclays Premier League goals. His current deal runs out at the end of the 2012-13 season and he has been strongly linked with the likes of Manchester City and Italian champions Juventus.
In an open letter to fans on his website, www.robinvanpersie.com, he wrote: "I've thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract."
Van Persie confirmed he had met with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis at the end of last season to discuss his future but, in a worrying development for fans of the club, indicated he did not receive the answers he was looking for.
The Dutchman, who signed for the London club in 2004 from Feyenoord, has won just one major trophy with Arsenal - the FA Cup in 2005. He cited a desire for silverware as his primary motive for deciding to leave the Emirates and will surely attract offers from a host of top European clubs.
Van Persie wrote: "This is an update for the fans about my current situation. I have kept quiet all this time out of respect and loyalty for the club and as agreed with Mr Gazidis and Mr Wenger, but since there is so much speculation in the media, I think it is fair for you guys to know what's really going on at the moment.
"As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the boss and Mr Gazidis after the season. This was a meeting about the club's future strategy and their policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all.
"I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days. Out of my huge respect for Mr Wenger, the players and the fans I don't want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal should move forward."
Arsenal later issued a short statement on their official website which read: "We have to respect Robin's decision not to renew his contract.
"Robin has one year to run on his current contract and we are confident that he will fulfil his commitments to the club. We are planning with ambition and confidence for next season with Arsenal's best interests in mind."