Despite being sidelined for most of last season with a calf problem, Mikel Arteta claims his love for the club hasn’t diminished and being part of Arsenal makes him happy.

When we signed Arteta from Everton in 2011 on deadline day, not many people predicted the love the fans would grow for the midfielder and nobody knew the amount of admiration he already held for the club.

Now, the 33-year-old has revealed he was an Arsenal fan for a long time, and playing for our club has been an honour for him.

“It has been a dream and a real pleasure to be part of this club,” Arteta said. “I was always an Arsenal supporter when I was in England because I loved the club’s philosophy and I wanted to enjoy this club.

“I think I have been developing every year to be more and more important to the point where I’m the Arsenal captain, which is something I’m really privileged and honoured to do.

The Spaniard added, “Last year I had some difficult moments with my injury, but I have managed to win trophies – which [the club] didn’t do for nine years – and be a big part of this club so I’m really happy.”

Despite being injured for such a long stretch, it’s clear Arteta can see the positive side and knows he can only get better from here.

The Spaniard has featured for us three times so far this season and when he has come on the pitch, has proven his professionalism and reliability, notably in the Crystal Palace match where he came straight on and intercepted a goalscoring opportunity from Lee Chung-Yong. Hopefully his injured days are behind him now.