Mikel Arteta not guilty over Arsenal switch
New Arsenal signing Mikel Arteta admits he had to seize the chance to quit Everton for a new challenge and he did not feel he let down his former employers with the manner of his exit.
The Spaniard's late decision to force through a transfer last night when the Toffees had initially turned down a £10million bid from the Gunners somewhat soured his exit.
Manager David Moyes had no intention of selling the 29-year-old but once it became clear Arteta was agitating for a move the Scot quickly decided he did not want to keep an unsettled player.
The only down side was it 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.
"I always try hard, I have been as professional as I could and I was grateful for the support and the love that the club and the fans showed me."
Arteta's departure coincided with that of striker Jermaine Beckford to npower Championship side Leicester - although that had been planned for - with the only arrivals being season-long loans for Real Madrid's Royston Drenthe and Argentinian striker Denis Stracqualursi.
Arteta admits it was a wrench to leave Goodison Park but will always have fond memories of his six and a half years on Merseyside.
"It is very difficult to say goodbye. I still can't believe it but at the same time I think it is the right moment for everyone," he told evertontv.
"That is the way football is, there is always a start and an end and today is the end of probably the best time of my career. I am never going to forget it.
"It has been crazy. I can't believe what happened, and the way it happened but as I said, that is part of football and I am going to be playing for another club soon.
"Obviously I am never going to forget what I have done here and what the people and this club have done for me."