The Spaniard moved to the Emirates Stadium for £10m during the summer of 2011, but his arrival was met with bemusement by some sections of the club’s support.
However, the 30-year-old has won over the doubters and Moyes believes that this in no shock:
“I’m not surprised. He is a very gifted footballer, he is a great lad to work with,” he said ahead of their clash with the Gunners on Wednesday.
“I think the manager (Wenger) was probably surprised what he offers: he is a great professional, a really good footballer and I’ll be delighted to see him back – just disappointed it is in an Arsenal jersey.
“I see Mikel now and when they are having a bit of a huddle he is the one who is the leader and I think they look to him, he has taken on a lot of the leadership qualities in that side.
“He was part of the rebuilding process that had to take place at Everton when we tried to develop the team and move it on.
Moyes did confess that he was unsure of Arteta’s ability when he brought him to England:
“We took Mikel on loan from Real Sociedad after he’d been at Rangers and it hadn’t quite worked for him.
“We were a bit unsure when he first came here. He was a bit lightweight to play in the middle and so we played him off the side and he was great there for us, he really was.
“Eventually he moved on to be a real key figure in that period and was a big part of us developing and moving Everton forward.”