Man of the moment Mikel Arteta has revealed more about his decision to pen a new 5-year contract with Everton.
The 28-year-old, who was heavily linked with City, Arsenal and Barcelona in the summer, revealed that he did have the opportunity to join a club ‘with Champions League, or a club with a lot of good players’.
“It wasn’t for financial reasons. If that was the case I wouldn’t be here now.
“This club has the ability to make you feel at home,” the central midfielder said. “When you are at home and you are building a beautiful house and you are close to completing it, you want to enjoy that house. You don’t want to move away, and that is how I felt about Everton. We have been working really hard and I, personally, have been complaining to the chairman about how we need to improve this and that. The club has done it and now is the moment to enjoy it. That was a big part. This is the moment we have been waiting for in the last four or five years.”
The Basque-born player will officially sign a contract today that will keep him at Everton until 2015, in a decision that has delighted the whole Evertonian fanbase as well as the manager and the chairman.
“Plus, the manager and chairman were both saying they needed me for a big project, and not to walk away. The manager told me he has been in a similar situation and he decided to stay. So this was my time to acknowledge that they have been unbelievable with me, when I was injured or had other problems, and it was the moment for me to step forward and say: ‘It is my time now.’
“I want to win things. I want to play in the Champions League and I want to make sure that when I leave this club they are in the top four at least,” he stated. “I think I can achieve that here.”
The Spanish schemer went on to apologise about the inconvenient timing of his wedding to long-time girlfriend Lorena Bernal in the summer, which further fuelled speculation of his imminent departure from Goodison.
“This is something I feel really bad about,” Arteta admitted. “I don’t think it was right but, originally, we were due to be in Liverpool at that point in pre-season. I went to the gaffer last year and told him the place we wanted to get married in had only one date available. He said: ‘What can you do? You only get married once in your life – you can have two days off.’ That was fine. Seven months later the club changed its pre-season plans and decided to go on tour of Australia. There was no way I could go to and from Australia and get married in 48 hours. I was in big trouble now.
“I had to explain to the gaffer and he was very understanding and gave me six days off. It wasn’t nice to leave my team-mates while they were all working hard in Australia, but I had arranged my wedding a year before and it was impossible to tell 250 guests to go home. My wife was really worried about it too, but the manager was fine and said he couldn’t ruin the wedding for reasons that were not my fault. It happened, it had to happen, but it wasn’t good. Tim [Cahill] was free [because of a post-World Cup holiday] and he was my best man. I was sad because I wanted players and staff at the wedding too, but we just couldn’t do it.”
In a separate interview with BBC Radio Merseyside, Mikel revealed that his family also played an important part in his decision to stick with the Toffees.
“You have to think about everything, your future, your family and your kids, and you have to put everything together.
“We’ve been so happy here and we’ve been treated really well and with a lot of respect. That is something that has been a big part.”
“We’ve got everything we want and I’m really comfortable at the club and we have good ambition for this season.”