Mikel Arteta says he delayed the signing of his new deal until he was sure he’d recovered from his ankle surgery and could maintain the level required.
The 33 year old missed the last 6 months of the season after struggling through the opening months with a debilitating calf problem which was linked to an ankle problem corrected with an operation in November.
And despite the fact the new contract was on the table, the Spaniard wanted to make sure he could play his part before putting pen to paper.
“First and foremost I had to decide whether I could do another full season here and I believe I can,” he told Arsenal Player.
“I was injured for the last six months with an ankle surgery, that’s why I wanted to wait, to see how I was feeling about the end of the season and if I could have another go at this level.
“We waited, they were really keen to maintain me on the team and that was my first option, so I’m really happy to stay.”
His absence from the team, along with other injuries, opened the door for Francis Coquelin, but Arteta isn’t willing to give up his place easily, saying competition is important.
“Everybody is starting from zero from the beginning of the season,” he said, “and you need to earn your place.
“When I have been fit I have always been involved. Obviously the years go on and you have some players coming in, which makes the competition strong, but that’s what you’re here for, to make each other better.”
Despite being one of the club’s most consistent performers since his arrival from Everton in 2011, last season has left him with something to prove, let’s hope he can do that.