The French international has endured a rocky start to his career with the Gunners, having made costly mistakes such as the mix-up with keeper Wojciech Szczesny in the build-up to Birmingham City's winner in last season's League Cup final.
But the Arsenal captain insists that while the former Lorient stopper needs to improve, he has all the potential to become one of the best in the business.
“He played very well in Marseille. From the moment he came here he’s been really good," Van Persie told Arsenal's official website.
“Every player has his unlucky moments but he has done really well for us since arriving. After just one season in the French top division he came to Arsenal and I’ve always liked him, he’s strong, quick, physically good, heads the ball well.
“For me he has everything to be one of the top centre backs around. When you have all those things it just needs a little fine-tuning here and there to become one of the best defenders.”
The Arsenal captain has himself been enjoying a rich run of form, having scored twice in the 2-1 victory over the Black Cats, three weeks after celebrating his century of goals, and looking forward to playing on Sunday in front of a home crowd full of praise for the Dutchman.
"It’s nice to hear," he continued. "I read all the comments - I take the fans very, very seriously and I think they’re great.
"It’s wonderful to know people like what you do. I think people can see that I’m passionate about what I am doing and that I love the game, so it’s a big compliment and I love to hear those things.
"But we still have a long way to go and a lot of things to prove, it’s still early in the season so my aim is just to keep things going and move from strength to strength."
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