Mikel Arteta last night forced through a dramatic last-minute, £10 million move from Everton to Arsenal hours after a deal appeared to have collapsed.
Arsenal rescued their deadline-day bid for Arteta, even though a row over the player’s fee and contract had threatened to scupper the transfer.
In a frenetic few hours of business, Arsenal first thought they had got Mikel Arteta, 29, then both clubs insisted the deal was off before the player stepped in to get it back on.
Everton manager David Moyes said: “Mikel indicated to me that he wished to join Arsenal. I am very disappointed to lose him but the prospect of Champions League football was something I wasn’t able to offer.”
Arsenal had a £5m approach rejected by Everton on Tuesday, but the move progressed rapidly when the Gunners doubled their offer.
But, having booked a medical for Arteta, Arsenal made it clear to the player that they were prepared to offer him wages of only about £60,000 a week, £10,000 less than his Everton salary. The prospect of a four-year contract was also a sticking point but was eventually agreed.Just as the deal appeared dead and Arsenal looked set to have to settle for signing Yossi Benayoun from Chelsea on a season-long loan, Arteta told Everton he would like to leave and lowered his demands to fit in with the Gunners’ offer.
Arteta pleaded with Everton to get the move back on and the Gunners rushed it through as the clock ticked towards the 11pm deadline after he offered to take a pay-cut.
But Everton were left angry and frustrated that Arteta’s late request had left them with no time to reinvest his £10m fee.