He was, at one point, the 'best little Spaniard' Everton fans knew.

They followed his every step and worshipped the ground he walked on.

But on deadline day in the summer of 2011, all that changed.

He was no longer 'the best little Spaniard' Everton fans knew and instead became an instant outcast.

Mikel Arteta was unquestionably one of David Moyes' best signings, but his exit left a bitter taste in the mouths of Evertonians and a feeling of deja vu as one of their stars once again said his goodbyes and headed for pastures new.

But before all the hysteria and anger, Arteta and Everton were seemingly the perfect fit.

Arriving midway through the memorable 2004/05 season, Arteta helped the Blues secure Champions League football.

He remains the only player in Everton’s history to score in the competition and his last act in a Blue shirt, although Moyes’  side wore gold that day, was to secure all three points at the death against Blackburn Rovers.

The scorer of some wonderful goals, his best was the one that rocked Goodison Park to its core.

A right-footed drive into the bottom corner of the Gwladys Street net sent those inside the Old Lady into delirium.

There were some dark times along the way, too, especially when the Spaniard was stretchered off the pitch during the Blues' 0-0 draw with Newcastle at St James' Park in 2009 having suffered a serious knee injury, just days after receiving his first call-up for the Spain national side.

But the reception he received upon his return against Birmingham City in January 2010 spoke volumes.

Four years later and Arteta received a very different reception from those inside Goodison.

Those who once worshipped him were quick to stick the knife in. And after he put the ball into his own net to put the Blues 3-0 up against the Gunners, three quarters of Goodison belted out: “Mikel, what’s the score? Mikel, Mikel what’s the score?”

Following the animosity that followed his departure to Arsenal, Arteta tried to kiss and make up with Evertonians after he retired from the game, and speaking to the club's official website attempted to give his version of events on his departure.

"To be fair, those fans were incredible with me," he said. "I always felt part of that family, they made me feel very welcome and I tried to give on the pitch what I had to make them proud.

"My only concern was when I left. I felt personally that I gave my best and that I couldn't offer anything else.

"I thought a year before that I should move, I had a move in place but the chairman and David said, 'No we don't want you to go, stay one more year'.

"I thought the limit was there and I would only go down, but I didn't want that feeling because in seven years we went from here to being fighting with the top four teams for the Champions League and that was a big gap.

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"I didn't think that they [the fans] understood my decision and they were so disappointed, which I understand because they didn't want me to leave.

"When I went back on my first time with Arsenal they were upset and the reaction towards me wasn't what I was expected, because my feelings towards them were completely different.

"But that is football and you can't make everybody happy. I understood that I made people upset and I am very sorry but it wasn't my intention, it was because I truly believed that it was the right time for me."

Arteta’s pleas for forgiveness and understanding appear to have fallen on deaf ears, and given his comments upon his appointment as Arsenal boss before Christmas, it is little surprise those in Blue would love nothing more than to get one over on the 'best little Spaniard' they used to love.