Arsenal may be in danger of losing their Dutch talisman, but there is cause for much optimism
Robin Van Persie may be in Arsenal's starting eleven for their opening Premier League game at home to Sunderland on 18th August, or he may not. Either way, it is almost certain that he will not be at the Emirates Stadium in 12 months time, having made it clear that he does not wish to renew his contract. But regardless of the 29 year old's current situation, there are a plentitude of positives to be found elsewhere at the club, including in Van Persie's position. Olivier Giroud has been brought in from Montpellier and the Frenchman's form last season with the Ligue 1 champions suggests that he will be prolific if provided with adequate service, while his strong build will also be highly useful in maintaining possession and engaging his team-mates into play.
The aforementioned service, which will be so crucial, is expected to be provided at least partly by the two wider players that manager Arsene Wenger is expected to play. Lukas Podolski, their new signing from Koln, will feature predominantly from the left and has the ability to contribute extensively to any team. He also possesses valuable experience at the top level, as evidenced by the fact that he has obtained over 100 caps for Germany at just 27 years of age. Theo Walcott will offer pace and goalscoring ability, and looks to be maturing into a genuinely international class player, while Gervinho will hope to improve in his second season in the Premier League.
In addition to this impressive forward line, the Gunners have, in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a young midefielder who possesses the intelligence, technique and skill to impress in most postions in the opposition's half of the pitch. The many encouraging performances from the 18 year old last season, and indeed his place in England's Euro 2012 squad, indicate that he may be ready to seriously assist Arsenal to success in the forthcoming campaign. The likely capture of Santi Cazorla, another creative, stylish and highly rated individual, will be even more important to the club in terms of winning trophies in the near future; the Spanish international, 27, will be at the forefront of Arsenal's typically intricate play in midfield and will ease the pain of Jack Wilshere's current absence. Cazorla linking up with his compatriot Mikel Arteta will be particualrly interesting and, in all probabiltiy, extremely effective, while the presence Alex Song, Aaron Ramsey and the expected arrival of Nuri Sahin will strength, quality and depth to midfield, as will Wilshere's much anticipated return.
With regards to the defence, the partnership of Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny has developed into one of the strongest in the league, with Per Mertesacker an experienced alternative. Wenger will also be relieved to have his two first-choice full-backs, Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna, back in contention after injuries. Arsenal undoubtedly looked defensively vulnerable at times last season, but with a fully fit and established back four there is hope for more consistent performances. That they also have in their ranks a goalkeeper of Wojciech Szczesny's standard generates further confidence in this area. The young Polish custodian is improving by the season and will hope to be a central figure in a strong defensive showing this season, especially siginificant when one considers how strong they will be at the other end of the pitch.
Such a promisng squad may not have been enough to dissuade Robin Van Persie from seeking pastures new, but whether their Number 10 remains for the 2012/13 season or not, there is myriad evidence that the future remains bright for this exciting and determined Arsenal squad.