Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey is keeping his fingers crossed that skipper Robin van Persie will resist the temptation to leave the Emirates Stadium this summer.
Speculation over the Holland international's future has been rife in recent weeks with Manchester City, Manchester United and Juventus having all been linked with moves for the 28-year-old in the wake of his announcement that he would not be signing a new contract.
Van Persie scored 37 goals last season, 30 of them in the Barclays Premier League, and claimed both the PFA and Football Writers' Association Player of the Year awards, and Ramsey is hopeful that despite all the rumours, the club can retain his services. He said: "We don't know anything that goes on. We hope that he stays at Arsenal."
The midfielder added: "He had a brilliant season last year and he is a big player for us, so we are just hopeful that he will stay."
Van Persie's sparkling form helped the Gunners to stage a fightback after a poor start to the season which saw them win just two of their first seven league games, a run which included an 8-2 drubbing at Manchester United and a derby defeat at Tottenham.
However, they rallied to such an extent that they eventually ended the campaign in third place and secured a Champions League qualification berth which at one point looked beyond them as they claimed 33 of the final 45 points on offer.
Nevertheless, the Gunners, who have added Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud to the squad during the summer, still finished 19 points behind the two Manchester clubs, and Ramsey is convinced a better start this time around could help them to close that gap.
He said: "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.
"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."