Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla is convinced that the club’s renewed self-belief will be the basis of a Premier League title charge which is expected to be boosted by the addition of £22 million striker Gonzalo Higuain.
Manager Arsene Wenger has identified the need to strengthen his squad after scraping a top four finish on the final day of the season ahead of rivals Tottenham.
Higuain scored 16 La Liga goals for Real Madrid last season despite falling behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema in the pecking order up-front, but he is widely expected to sign for the north London club in the near-future.
Having already secured the signature of France Under-21 forward Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer, Cazorla is hopeful that they can build on their strong finish to the season and stand a realistic chance of winning the league.
“When the team doesn't win and we don't get the results we want, the collective confidence does drop a little and that is natural. Now we have put in a spectacular run-in and you can see the difference in mentality," Cazorla said in next month’s official Arsenal magazine.
"We have great players. I am sure next season we will be a better team and improve,” the Spaniard continued. “Next season we hope we can be even better and win trophies and the supporters can enjoy it, that is what Arsenal really wants."
Wenger has seen a substantial portion of his wage budget freed up by the departures of Andrey Arshavin, Denilson and Sebastien Squillaci, and other high earning fringe players like Nicklas Bendtner, Marouane Chamakh and Park Chu-Young are expected to leave this summer.
Cazorla enjoyed a promising first season at the Emirates having made the switch from Malaga at the beginning of last season, netting 12 times and receiving praise for his creative and attacking flair in a side that more than struggled at times.
Pundits are suggesting that this could be the ideal season for Arsenal to get back into the title race, with the majority of their championship rivals going through a time of upheaval with Jose Mourinho returning to Chelsea, David Moyes taking over from the now retired Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester City welcoming Cazorla’s former boss Manuel Pellegrini.
But the midfielder does not feel that it will have a big impact on how things play out over the season, suggesting that Pellegrini will “make City a better team”.
He added: “I do not think it influences too much. The most radical change is at Manchester United because Ferguson has been there for so long.
"It will be a little difficult at the start for a new manager, but I don't think it influences too much in terms of being an advantage for other teams.
"There are great managers at those clubs and I am sure it will be just as difficult.”