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Arteta defends last-gasp Arsenal switch

SPANIARD says he did not let down Everton as Mertesacker, Benayoun and Chu Young Park also sign, with striker Bendtner moving to Sunderland.

New Arsenal signing Mikel Arteta admits he had to seize the chance to quit Everton for a new challenge.

The Toffees had initially turned down a £10m bid from the Gunners, but when the midfielder heard of the bid he asked for a transfer.

The transfer came so late it gave Everton no chance to find an adequate replacement.

But Arteta insists he gave his all to the club while he was there and hoped fans remembered that.

"It is a big opportunity for me and my family and I think it is the right time for me to take it," he said.

"It is a big challenge, a different challenge, fresh for me and I want to see myself on the biggest stage, the Champions League.

"I am 29 years old so I haven't got much time left to take a chance like this one. I think I have done my best for Everton."

Arteta's departure coincided with that of striker Jermaine Beckford to npower Championship side Leicester.

A busy Gunners also signed German international defender Per Mertesacker for £8m, Chelsea's Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun on a season-long loan and striker Chu Young Park from Monaco. Striker Nicklas Bendtner joined Sunderland on season-long loan