Mikel Arteta may have only been an Arsenal player for less than 12 months now, but the Spaniard has already become a favourite among the supporters, player and officials alike.
The midfielder was made the new vice-captain following the departure of Robin van Persie to Manchester United and he fully deserves it.
Nearly a year on from his deadline day transfer from Everton, Arteta has had the chance to look back and evaluate a successful debut campaign as a Gunner and truly believes that all three of the new signings will be able to do the same come next year.
Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla all made their debuts in the 0-0 draw with Sunderland on Saturday, and Arteta is convinced that the trio can have a big impact on Arsenal’s season.
“I think we are looking good,” Arteta said. “We looked really organised on Saturday, just maybe in the final third we didn’t take the chances we should have done.
“It will take a while because there have been some new players coming in and we are building a new team. We have lost some important players too so we will need some time. But we wanted to start with a win and that is why we are disappointed.
“We know that our new players can make the difference as well. We will have to give them a chance to settle into a new place.”
Arteta made his first appearance for the Gunners since April on Saturday, and was a solid performer alongside Cazorla and Abou Diaby in the midfield three. The 30-year-old formed a formidable partnership with Alex Song throughout the whole of last season but won’t have the chance to do so again this year.
Song completed his £15m to Barcelona at the start of the week, but Arteta believes that Arsenal will be able to cope just fine without him.
“I felt really comfortable when I played with Alex last year, he was a terrific player,” said Arteta. “But if he and the Club decided that the best option was for him to leave we have to accept it. I think we are good enough to carry on without him.”