Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour believes it will be a "disaster" if the Gunners' captain Robin van Persie leaves the London club.

The 28 year old Dutch forward has been phenomenal for the London club this season, with 26 goals and 11 assists from 32 league matches so far and Parlour feels it will be difficult to replace the Dutchman if he leaves.

"It's going to be a disaster if he does leave," the Daily Mail quoted the Englishman as saying, "It's going to be a major blow. As much of a blow as Cesc Fabregas leaving. To lose a vital player is going to affect you. Arsenal's midfielders don't score enough - the team relies on van Persie."

Parlour recalls training with van Persie, who, according to him, deserves to be mentioned alongside Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.

"You could always see it. I played with Dennis Bergkamp who was a fantastic player and I saw a bit of Dennis in Robin. He had that rawness, he had that little bit of fight in him, which the Dutch players have. You could see the potential. He's grown and grown as a player. His performances have been right up there with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo," he said.

Parlour, who spent 13 years with the Gunners, urged van Persie to ignore rich clubs' attempts to lure him with big-money contracts and cement his place in Arsenal history by signing a new deal.

"City are interested in all the top players. They've got money to burn. But I'm hoping Robin will stay. He has learned a lot from Arsenal Football Club. Dennis was similar - he never wanted to go anywhere else. Hopefully Robin will be the same. I want him to have a statue outside like Thierry (Henry) and Tony (Adams) and people like that, because he deserves it if he does commit to Arsenal Football Club. And I hope he does," he added.

Meanwhile, Parlour is pleased with FC Cologne striker Lukas Podolski's potential move to Arsenal and hopes that the club's attacking line-up will feature both the German and the Dutchman next season.

"The best signing for Arsenal will be van Persie's, on a new contract. But Podolski, if there's a deal done there, will be a big signing. He's experienced, he's played in big games. But in an ideal world, you have van Persie, and Podolski to play alongside him," the 39 year old said.