Mikel stands on the verge of Greatness.
Everton finally secured the most important deal of the summer on Saturday 7th August, with Mikel Arteta agreeing a new five year contract that has effectively seen the Best Little Spaniard commit the rest of his career to the Blues.
David Moyes made the retaining of his current stars the number one priority in the close season at Goodison Park, and after the likes of Tim Cahill, Leighton Baines, Jack Rodwell and Seamus Coleman all committed themselves to long term deals, Arteta has also been persuaded that there is no better place to be right now than at Everton
Even though one unsigned contract remains on the table for Steven Pienaar, this was the news that we had been waiting for as Arteta is perhaps the one player that is key to the success of this Everton side, a fact not lost on the manager or the chairman who have smashed the clubs wage structure to make Arteta the highest paid player in the club's history.
When Mikel returned to the side after the best part of twelve months out injured, Everton started to play a brand of football which will have been unfamiliar to a generation of Blues fans who are more accustomed to seeing the route one tactics employed during the Royle and Smith era's or the hard working displays that typified Everton at that start of David Moyes' time in charge.
Yet the victories against Hull City, Blackburn and perhaps most telling of all, against both Manchester City (away) and Manchester United, saw Everton sweep their opponents aside with a fast flowing passing game that was as pleasing on the eye as it was effective, and it is Arteta who dictates this style of football for Everton.
It is easy to see that Mikel began his football career in Barcelona's famous La Masia youth academy, where the young players are taught the stylish passing game that has become such a feature of the all conquering Barcelona first team and of Spain's World Cup winning side.
However Arteta has been able to combine this innate ability to play attractive football with the competitive and industrious edge that is required of every player in a David Moyes team, which is why he has been such a success during his six seasons at Everton.
It was such a cruel blow to Everton's season that just as Mikel was returning to full match fitness, the team were then robbed of their other star midfielder performer at that point, Marouane Fellaini, and the prospect of having both fit for the start of the new season could see Everton with a central midfield pairing to rival anyone in the Premier League.
There is no doubt that Arteta could have moved on in pursuit of trophies or a greater cash incentive this summer, but his decision to stay has further emphasised the feeling that this is no longer a reason for players to leave Everton, and the manager, the players and the fans can all sense that winning a trophy is definitely not beyond the current squad of players.
Bill Kenwright described Arteta as "one of the finest players ever to wear an Everton shirt", for some Everton fans Mikel will have to be part of trophy winning side before he is worthy of such praise, but hopefully that will be some time in the very near future and if it is then Mikel will have earned his place amongst the Everton Greats and every penny of his record breaking contract.