But the Spaniard has not featured for the Gunners since being ruled out with a hamstring injury in early November.
“I know him really well from Spain," said Arteta. “I watched him many, many times. He always wants the ball, he has big personality to play. I like him.
“He is getting much closer to the fitness levels that I expect from him to be competing with his teammates.
“Obviously, he had a long-term injury and he had an adaptation to this league.
“But he is a player that can fit our style and now he needs to make a step forward and make things difficult for me and my selection. Now he is ready to step in.
“I like him more when he's closer to the box rather than always coming deep to receive the ball.
“He's a very creative player, a player who in the final third can cause problems."