Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has given Patrick Vieira until Saturday to resolve his prospective move to Real Madrid.
Wenger has been adamant all summer that Vieira would stay, but now appears to accept that the matter is now out of his hands and appears resigned to the possibility of losing his captain.
“I don’t know frankly, but I have a clue,” said the Gunners boss when asked what Vieira’s plans are.
“Of course we want him to stay but if he wants to leave there would be an open door.”
Vieira missed Sunday’s Community Shield against Manchester United with a thigh injury.
“If he stays, I want him to be committed, not half-in, half-out, and therefore we are waiting for him to make a decision,” added Wenger.
“When he is clear in his head he has to come out and say what he wants to do, and he has to do that quickly, by Saturday.
“You need your captain to be focused. Real Madrid start their season in September, but we start next week.
“I know what I want, I know what the club wants. The club doesn’t want the money, the club doesn’t want him to go. Everyone wants him to stay and he can make a difference.
“It’s down to him to stay and be focused on what we want to achieve together. That can only be possible if he is really convinced by that.
“We want players to be committed to the club – it is not about money at all.
“We respect what he has done and until now he has given eight years to the club but we want him to be focused on the club.
“If he is focused to leave there will be an open door if we can make an agreement with Real Madrid.
Wenger also admitted that his preparations for the new season have been hampered by the transfer saga.
“We have been disrupted in our preparations by this talk,” said Wenger
“But I’m not resigned to let that story go on and on. This ought to be sorted out before the start of the season.
“We know that the challenge we have in front of us is hugely difficult and we need a complete focus. Before you start the season you want your captain to be focused on what the team wants to achieve.”