The signing of Mikel Arteta has been a resounding success - as can be illustrated by his finishing fifth in our Player of the Season poll.
Arsenal fans more or less knew what to expect from the Spaniard when he arrived at Emirates Stadium last August. Arteta came with a reputation for consistency, style and class - and that is just what he delivered.
When fit he was an ever-present in Arsène Wenger's first team and gave Arsenal control in midfield, covering Alex Song's forward runs and judging his own attacking forays perfectly.
He was sorely missed during his two short spells with injury, one in January when Arsenal lost every league match and another at the end of the campaign when the Gunners took six points from their final five matches.
Arteta's metronomic consistency is perhaps his most obvious asset but he provided goals too - including some classics. The free kick against Aston Villa and late winner from distance against Manchester City proved that the Spaniard can still do the business at the sharp end of the pitch.
“I watch the game from behind [the attackers] and I know that when we become too open we leave many spaces and concede goals. I just try to balance the team a little bit. Sometimes I would like to go forward more, but I’ve still had chances. I don't want to be the main man; we all know who the main man is and that’s Robin. He is the leader, he is the one who makes a real difference."
* - Two goals scored for Everton.
Third place was still very much in the balance when Manchester City came to Emirates Stadium in early April. With the game heading for a goalless draw, Arteta won the ball in midfield, drove forward and slammed a shot past Joe Hart to seal three vital points. “He first won the ball back through complete focus on what the opponent will do and where he could lose the ball," said Wenger. "He then finished the action and scored the goal. That is what I call a real midfielder, a guy who is always in the game.”
Mikel celebrates his goal against Manchester City