Arteta transferred on deadline day from Everton for a fee believed to be in the region of £10 million and has featured in every Premier League match for the North London club since his switch.
The Spanish midfielder netted his first goal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, sealing a 3-0 win over West Brom, and Wenger has hailed the importance of Arteta in the lineup and for the Gunners revival
Wenger said to Arsenal’s official website:
He is an important player for our team, he is really a player between Song and Ramsey or Rosicky and that gives us continuity.
When we need to keep the ball he can achieve that – Jack [Wilshere] can do that as well. But with Jack missing he is a player who can keep the ball when it is needed.
He is adapting to our game. If you look at the stats in the Premier League, Arsenal are the team who play the least balls backwards.
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That means when you have the ball it is not only a question of decision-making, it’s a question of opportunity. It’s about how many players you have in front of you – if you have players behind you have to play it backwards.
[On Arteta’s failure to gain a senior international call-up] In a different way he is like [Ryan] Giggs, he had the bad luck to play for Wales who never went to a big tournament. Arteta was born in Spain where they have plenty of midfielders who are absolutely outstanding.
What maybe didn’t help him is that he was very young and he did not move to clubs who were maybe as glamorous as they should have been.
At the time he went very young to PSG when they were not going very well. After he moved to Rangers to try and convince Spanish managers he deserved a place in the team and then to Everton.
It shows what I always say – 90 per cent of a player’s career is the club. It’s the club who makes the career of the players. If he was English he would have an international career here.
The Spanish national side is extremely stacked in the midfield positions so there is no suprise that Arteta hasn’t had the call-up, however if he continues his fine form why shouldn’t he? However at 29 he is ‘getting on a bit’, and with the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and Xabi Alonso let alone youngsters such as Thiago waiting in the wings it seems unlikely that Arsenal’s new Spaniard will get a shot on the international side.
But this can come as an advantage as Arteta will be able to have decent post season rests and preseason trainings, while being a world-class player. There is more to come from the 29 year old, and he has the ability to add more goals to his game just as he did at Everton.