MIKEL ARTETA has urged any players considering leaving Everton to think twice after extending his Goodison commitment to more than a decade.
Arteta ended speculation over his future at the weekend by agreeing a new five-year contract that ties him to the club until 2015.
The Spanish schemer has followed Tim Cahill, Leighton Baines, Jack Rodwell and Seamus Coleman in pledging his long-term future to the club this summer.
It dashed any hopes potential suitors Barcelona, Manchester City, Sevilla and Arsenal had of prising the 28-year-old away from Goodison. And in a thinly-veiled warning to Steven Pienaar, who has entered the final 12 months of his present deal with talks having stalled on a new contract, Arteta believes the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere.
“I think some day you need to realise what you’ve got,” said the midfielder. “I realise what I’ve got and how privileged I am to be here.
“We haven’t got everything at Everton because we haven’t been able to win things or play in the Champions League.
“You can go to another club for more money or to play in the Champions League but if you move on from here you know you are going to miss many things.
“Those things are really important as well.”
Arteta, who arrived at Everton on an initial six-month loan in January 2005 before making a permanent £2million move from Real Sociedad, is expected to put pen to paper on his lucrative new contract today.
The midfielder had told the Goodison board he would understand any decision to move him on given the player is at the peak of his market value.
But the manner in which such suggestions were dismissed out of hand convinced Arteta he was right to stay put.
“I knew everything from the end of last season about the other clubs,” he said. “The club knew about it and we just had to deal with it.
“I said to the club ‘maybe this is a good chance for you. I’m 28 years old, maybe you want to move me on and get a lot of money’.
“But they said ‘no, we don’t want that and we want you to stay here for as long as possible’ so we agreed the contract.
“There was never a chance I was going back to Spain. People said things about how I wanted to go back because of personal things but that wasn’t true. I always wanted to stay in England.”