MIKEL ARTETA has vowed to help establish Everton as a top four Premier League club.
The Spanish midfielder ended speculation about his future last week when he agreed a new five-year deal.
Arsenal and Manchester City both offered Arteta the chance to play Champions League football this season but he opted to remain at Goodison.
The 28-year-old is confident he can achieve his dream of playing in Europe’s top club competition with the Blues.
“I could have gone somewhere with Champions League but I really value what we have got here,” Arteta said.
“I feel respected here. I really love the players and the staff and I think this is the moment we have been waiting for in the last four or five years.
“This club has the ability to make you feel at home. 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 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.
“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. This was my time to acknowledge that they have been unbelievable with me, when I was injured or had problems. It was the moment for me to step forward and say ‘it is my time now’.
“I am at a stage in my career where I want to win things and I want to play in the Champions League. I want to make sure that when I leave this club they are in the top four at least.
“If I was not convinced about enjoying success with Everton I would not be staying.”
Arteta’s close bond with his team-mates was highlighted by the fact Tim Cahill was his best man when he got married in his homeland last month.
The 28-year-old was granted permission by boss David Moyes to leave the pre-season tour of Australia early to tie the knot.
“Leaving the tour is something I feel really bad about,” Arteta said. “I don’t think it was right but, originally, we were due to be in Liverpool at that point.
“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: “You only get married once in your life – you can have two days off.” Seven months later the club changed it’s plans and decided to go to 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 but I had arranged my wedding a year before and it was impossible to tell 250 guests to go home.
“Tim was my best man and I wanted to have everyone at the wedding but we couldn’t do it.
“We have spent a long time together and have had a lot of good and bad moments together. Not just on the pitch but off it, the people here have played a big part. The spirit here is something very special.”