By David Woods
ARSENAL are hopeful Robin van Persie will stay at the club and sign a new contract.


Starsport can reveal the Dutchman has been hugely impressed by efforts made to boost the Gunners squad, which was strengthened further yesterday by the capture of Spain international Santi Carzola.

The winger, who can also play in central midfield, is understood to have cost just £12.65m, with ­Arsenal taking advantage of ­Malaga’s financial ­problems to snap him up.

Carzola joined up with Arsenal yesterday and is set to go to the club’s training camp in Germany next week, with Arsene Wenger’s men playing a friendly against Cologne tomorrow week.

He will be joined on the trip by Van Persie, with the club becoming increasingly optimistic he can be persuaded to abandon his plans to move.

Real Madrid’s Turkey midfielder Nuri Sahin is also set to arrive on a season-long loan as Wenger overhauls his squad.

The mood at Arsenal has been lifted by Wenger taking decisive ­action in the transfer market, with the squad well aware that Carzola is a major talent.

He has been capped 45 times by world and European champions Spain.

Wenger also swooped earlier this summer for Germany star Lukas Podolski and France striker Olivier Giroud for a combined cost of around £22m. Unlike last season, he has acted early and Starsport can reveal Van Persie, 28, has been caught up by the wave of optimism sweeping through the club.

It is understood the Gunners skipper, who still has ­Arsenal in his heart, has also been less than ­impressed by the way ­suitors Manchester City, ­Manchester United and ­Juventus have dragged their feet in negotiations.

The club accept they have a long way to go to secure Van Persie on a new deal.

He had been offered around £220,000 a week by City, a figure they ­cannot match.

But Van Persie is believed to be coming round to the idea of staying, with a feeling spreading through the camp that they can be serious title challengers.