A shrewd £10m move by Arsene Wenger?

Arsene Wenger completed one of the biggest deadline day deals when secured the signature of Everton captain Mikel Arteta on a four-year deal at Arsenal. The Frenchman had endured a difficult summer period in which both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri completed their moves away from the Emirates, and Arteta’s move to Arsenal has received a mixed reaction among both Evertonians and the Arsenal faithful, with both sets of fans disagreeing over who has done the ‘better business’; David Moyes or Arsene Wenger?

While Wenger has often been criticised for failing to bring in big names, or spend heavily in the transfer windows, the Arsenal boss remained adamant he would not pay over his valuation for a player, but would be willing to spend ‘big’ if necessary. Having brought in over £50m through the sale of Fabregas and Nasri, it was perhaps somewhat surprising to see the Frenchman fork out just £10million for a player who would be filling such an important void in the Arsenal midfield. Wenger will have had enough time to look around, and even make an offer for any player he might have wanted over the summer window and at 29-years-old, it seems somewhat unlikely that Mikel Arteta would have been top of his ‘wish list’.

Last minute swoops for Denis Stracqualursi and Real Madrid midfielder Royston Drenthe were the only players to be brought in by David Moyes this summer, however both players will only remain at Goodison for the season on loan. Chairman Bill Kenwright openly expressed his frustrations at being unable to generate the funds to bring in new players, and insisted the clubs inability to borrow any more money was damaging their transfer plans significantly. Arteta had previously discussed the importance of keeping the top players at Goodison Park, but the opportunity of Champions League football is believed to have been pivotal in his decision to move to North London.

At 29, perhaps the £10m received for Arteta is actually a good piece of business by Moyes. Arteta has been hugely influential in the heart of Everton’s midfield, and was arguably the clubs best player throughout a number of Premier League seasons. However the Spaniard has recently struggled with serious injury, and after damaging his knee ligaments in February of 2008, the midfielder missed the rest of the season as well as five months of the 2009/10 campaign. Last season Arteta made 29 appearances for the club, and managed just 3 league goals – his lowest in three years at Goodison. Arteta’s apparent slump in form was initially put down to his return from injury, but others were quick to suggest that perhaps we have already seen the best from the former Everton captain.

Arteta’s departure will have, at least at first, come as a shock to a number of Everton fans who have idolized the Spaniard since he signed for the club back in 2004. Arteta’s spell at Everton has undoubtedly been a successful one, and he has proved to be pivotal in the clubs achievements over the last 7 years, however with the club struggling to fund transfers for other players, the £10m tabled by Arsenal may turn out to be instrumental when both Moyes and Kenwright next look to go in to the market. The midfielder had recently signed a five-year contract extension at Everton, and the fee paid by Wenger may well have been less had he not done so. Wenger has ultimately taken something of a risk in paying £10m for an ageing midfielder with a history of injury problems, while David Moyes has cashed in on a fee that the club were in desperate need of for a player they could no longer rely on for the consistency he had previously provided.

Arsenal’s start to the season has been far from ideal, and a 8-2 thrashing at the hands of Manchester United is believed to have forced Wenger to go into the market with more urgency than he had shown up until August 31st. The likes of Arteta and Beanyoun will struggle to fill the void left by Fabregas and Nasri, and will face a tough task in convincing the Arsenal faithful that they have what it takes to mount a serious challenge for a top four finish, let alone the league. For Wenger’s sake, these fans will be desperate to see Arteta flourish once more as an Arsenal player, but until he does so, it would appear as though the Everton boss has done the better piece of business here.

Is £10m a fair valuation for Arteta? Has the Spaniard not already peaked in the Premier League? Let me know your thoughts either below or @sixthoffiial on Twitter!

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