The 26-year-old has made steady progress since arriving from Lorient in the summer of 2010 and his captain has always been an admirer.
“He played very well [in Marseille],” Van Persie told Arsenal.com. “From the moment he came here he’s been really good.
“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.”