- Premier League
Ramsey retains hope Van Persie will stay
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey says he and his team-mates are all keeping their fingers crossed that Robin van Persie decides to remain at Emirates Stadium for the coming season.
Van Persie's future remains in the balance, with Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus all expressing an interest in signing the Dutchman after he announced he would not sign a new contract with the Gunners.
The Arsenal captain enjoyed a stunning campaign in 2011-12, scoring 37 goals on his way to winning the PFA and Football Writers' Association Player of the Year awards, and his departure would leave Arsene Wenger with a gaping hole to fill.
Having played alongside Van Persie for the past four years and watched him sparkle last season, Ramsey is hoping the Gunners can hold on to him.
"We don't know anything that goes on. We hope that he stays at Arsenal," Ramsey said. "He had a brilliant season last year and he is a big player for us, so we are just hopeful that he will stay.''
Rumours surrounding Van Persie's future may refuse to disappear, but Ramsey still believes Arsene Wenger's side will be in good shape for 2012-13 after adding Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski to their ranks.
"If we get off to a better start this season than we did last season, we know we are capable of finishing pretty strongly, like we did last year," Ramsey said.
"We have brought in a couple of players who are well-known and hopefully we can put ourselves in a position to compete early on.''
One Arsenal player who will definitely be absent for the start of the season is Jack Wilshere, who continues to fight against injury problems. Ramsey says he can empathise with his team-mate's plight having previously missed ten months on the sidelines with a double leg fracture.
"The worst position you are in is when you are on the medical bed and you can't get out on that training pitch," Ramsey said.
"I understand what he is going through at the moment, but he has to be mentally strong - which he has been so far - and he will be back before he knows it, playing again and showing what he can do.''