Mikel Arteta: The Man To Replace Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal?
The deal looked dead after Everton rejected Arsenal's bid for their talismanic midfielder, but after Arteta insisted the Toffees accept the offer and allow the Spaniard to negotiate a move to the Emirates once learning of the Gunner's interest, it seems a key hole in their midfield will be plugged.
As proven in the first three Premier League games this season, Arsenal have severely lacked creativity in the middle. And as statistics have shown, Mikel Arteta is more than capable of providing that.
His ability to create chances is far greater than that of any Gunners player, with only Cesc Fabregas creating more chances for the North London club.
The 29-year-old made 53 key passes (i.e. passes which directly lead to goalscoring opportunities) for Everton in the league last season.
And what's most impressive about this is that 24 of these were from set pieces, which shows just how effective Arteta's free kicks and corners are.
The other 29 were from open play, and considering Arteta only played 29 league games in 2010/11, the Spaniard's ability to make clear goalscoring opportunities in every match he plays makes for very good reading.
Mikel Arteta: Can He Replace Cesc Fabregas At Arsenal?
With more talented teammates around him, there's also potential for more key passes and assists from Arteta.
He had one of the highest open play passing accuracy rates in the Premier League last season, completing 87 percent of his passes, more than any Arsenal player.
Overall he made 1,474 successful passes, again more than any Gunners star, barring Jack Wilshere, which shows his ability to start attacks and set up chances on goal.
He also made 171 crosses, with a crossing accuracy rate of 33 percent, a very impressive statistic considering it beats the likes of Nani, Ashley Young, Florent Malouda, Stewart Downing, etc, all players who made a similar amount of deliveries.
Last season Mikel Arteta created a goalscoring chance every 42 minutes for his teammates. If he can stay fit for the whole season, it's clear he has the potential to double his key passes tally and rack up more assists.
Speaking of assists, while Arteta only made five in the 2010/11 campaign, he evidently has the ability to make more, backed up not only by his passing statistics but the fact that in 2006/07, with arguably the best Everton team in recent seasons, he made a whopping 12 assists from just 35 games, the third highest that season after Fabregas and Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo.
But it's not just great passing and assist-making ability that's in Arteta's locker.
The Spaniard is surprisingly able to put in a good tackle, winning 65 tackles in the Premier League last season at a rate of one tackle every 37 minutes on the pitch, with a tackle success rate of 71 percent (something that would help give Arsenal the steel edge they need all over the pitch).
He's also able to run with the ball well, successfully completing 25 dribbles last term at a rate of 0.86 per game. Not bad at all for a central midfielder who's job it is to stay in the middle and provide chances.
And as well as that, Arteta is also a pretty decent finisher himself when presented with the right goal-scoring opportunity.
He only scored three goals last season, but he's netted 41 from 208 matches for Everton at a rate of a goal every five games and impressively scored six from just 13 appearances in 2009/10.
Arteta's already scored for Everton this season, showing good composure as he netted from the penalty spot, and with good service from his fellow midfielders he could also find himself notching up a fair few goals.
A clever signing from Arsene Wenger, the hardcore evidence proves the under-pressure Frenchman could well have pulled a gem out of the bag as he looks to rebuild the creativity and midfield quality in his crumbling Arsenal team.