Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has told the club’s website that he never intended to leave the Emirates Stadium.
The experienced Spaniard has just signed a new deal with the Gunners, which may have surprised some fans considering the competition in central midfield and the fact he missed a large chunk of the last campaign with an ankle problem.
However, he feels he’s shown enough during his time with the North Londoners to prove that when he’s fit, he’s always been involved in Arsene Wenger’s first team.
“My first option was to be here. I’m really happy here and I feel valued. I wasn’t looking at anything unless I thought that I couldn’t do it [here]. First and foremost I had to decide whether I could do another full season here and I believe I can,” he told arsenal.com.
“When I have been fit I have always been involved. Obviously the years go on and you have some players coming in, which makes the competition strong, but that’s what you’re here for, to make each other better.”
Experience is key
It’s going to be a very long and testing season for the Gunners as they look to build on the success of having won back-to-back FA Cups.
Ideally, the club would like to get close to the Premier League title and progress in the Champions League but it won’t be easy on either front.
There are going to be difficult spells during the season and that’s where Arteta needs to step in with his experience, ensuring that everyone stays motivated and focused on moving forward.
Will he start regularly?
Unfortunately for Arteta, he may have to just accept that he’s not going to be first choice and therefore, won’t start every game.
Central midfield is one of the most heavily congested areas of the Arsenal squad, with Arsene Wenger already benefiting from several good options and the Spaniard has to try and change his mentality.