Mikel Arteta has revealed why he delayed signing a new deal to stay at Arsenal.
The captain’s contract was due to expire at the end of June but Arsene Wenger confirmed that the Spaniard had agreed to stay for a further 12 months.
Arteta missed the second half of last season and explained that he did not want to commit to a new deal until he had proved his fitness.
"We waited, they were really keen to maintain me on the team and that was my first option, so I’m really happy to stay"
“We had a chat in the middle of the season with the manager, Ivan [Gazidis] and Dick [Law] and I knew exactly what they were thinking about me,” he said. “My desire was to stay here so I was very relaxed about signing it. We left it until the end, we got it signed and I am so pleased to stay here.
“I was injured for the last six months with an ankle surgery, that’s why I wanted to wait, to see how I was feeling about the end of the season and if I could have another go at this level. We waited, they were really keen to maintain me on the team and that was my first option, so I’m really happy to stay.
“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.”
Arteta faces competition from Francis Coquelin - who emerged as an important first-team player last season - but he insists he is ready for the challenge.
“The good thing about football is that it doesn’t matter what you did last week, so it doesn’t matter what you did six months ago, a year ago or what I’ve done in the past here,” he said.
“Everybody is starting from zero from the beginning of the season and you need to earn your place. 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. For that we need to work hard.”
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.