Vermaelen remains optimistic Van Persie will continue playing at Arsenal next season

The Belgian has appealed for the striker to keep faith in the Gunners' project, amid reports linking their star with an imminent move away
Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen has expressed hope that Robin van Persie will continue plying his trade at the Emirates next season ahead of their nations' friendly clash on Wednesday.

The Dutch marksman appears to be leaning closest to making a switch to Premier League rivals Manchester United this summer, after also having been heavily linked to the likes of Manchester City and Serie A champions Juventus.

"I do not know what is going on behind the scenes, but I can only say that Van Persie is an Arsenal player in all respects," Vermaelen enthused to The Sun. "I hope he can continue playing with us for the next four years and more."

The in-demand striker clearly is not letting transfer speculation get in his way as he prepares for international duty with his country however, as new Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal was keen to testify.

"I had a wonderful conversation with Robin, both on a social level and in terms of football vision," the former Bayern Munich coach told KNVB's official website.

"I've rarely known such a player before, and reassured him the best in my teams get to play."

Belgium entertain the Netherlands in Brussels at 19:45 CET.