MIKEL ARTETA has spoke of his happiness on signing a new five-year contract at Everton.
The Spanish midfielder had been linked with a move away from Goodison Park all summer but ended speculation over his future on Saturday by committing himself to the Goodison Park outfit until he is 33 years old.
He said: “I am really happy. It’s been a really busy summer and at the end of the day we all decided this was the best way for it to end up.
“I think both parties are really happy with it.
“From the start the chairman and the manager were 100% convinced they didn’t want to listen to any of the other teams who were interested. That made me really think. If they are that convinced, there’s a reason for that.
“We had a couple of discussions and tried to get something sorted. It was a situation which wasn’t going to improve through the season if we left it.”
Arteta has already scored 29 goals in 159 appearances and twice been voted Everton’s player of the year.
And he admits he can see himself playing out the remainder of his top-flight career at Goodison.
“My aim is to stay here as long as I can – that’s why I agreed to the contract,” said the Spaniard.
“I said to the manager that at the end of this contract I will have played for Everton for 11 years which is unbelievable. I am really optimistic about this season and I think we have got a great chance.
“We’ve got a great team with great experience.”
Arteta earned a raucous ovation from the travelling supporters at Wolfsburg at the weekend, but could not prevent Everton falling to a 2-0 defeat in their final friendly ahead of the Premier League opener at Blackburn Rovers this coming Saturday.
And the Spaniard said: “We knew it was going to be a decent game. It was the first time we’ve been a goal down in pre-season and we had to react from that. A couple of mistakes cost us goals.
“In one way I think it’s good. We’ve been playing well and winning but now we have to ensure we focus and get it right next weekend.
“We have to ensure we get it right from the start. That’s been missing in recent years. Let’s get off to a good start, start winning and kick on from there.
“The two targets are to start winning and keep everyone fit. Let’s not talk about the Champions League or about winning trophies.
“If we start well we have a chance. If we don’t start well and get injuries then things will be difficult.”