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 By Kevin Palmer

Mikel Arteta: Signings have X-factor

Arsenal are finally building a team to challenge for the Premier League, according to former Gunner Nigel Winterburn.

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal are ready to mount a sustained challenge for silverware after signing what he describes as "X-factor" players in recent summers.

- Cross: Arsenal must hit the ground running

Arteta, who has been named the new Arsenal captain, believes the captures of Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez can make a difference as they look to build on last season's FA Cup triumph.

"In the last three seasons, we've signed 'X-factor' players," he told the Arsenal website. "When Santi came, I think fans got really excited because he was giving us something really special.

"With Mesut it was something very special. Now we have Alexis -- but you forget about Theo [Walcott], who missed six months last year and was superb when he was fit.

"Then there's [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack [Wilshere] and Rambo [Aaron Ramsey], who was unbelievable last season. Suddenly you're talking about six or seven really good players that can make a difference in a game and that's what you want to win trophies."

Arsenal start their Premier League campaign against Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday and Arteta wants to ensure they make a good start.

"We've done our [transfer] business early this season so we can start from the off and that's what we want," he said. "We want to set a marker and we don't want to miss that opportunity.

"We've got experience now, we are able to win -- we have the qualities to do it, we have the structure, the fans, the club and the desire to do it.

"I think we have moved forward since I've been here. Last season was a big step forward. To compete in the most tough and difficult league -- where you are facing five or six opponents ready to win the Premier League -- is not easy to find anywhere else in Europe.

"When you're playing and you look at the bench, and you see that we have options to change the game ... you can write down two or three different teams and that's what you need.

"You need competition, players to be on their toes, and that's what the manager is going to get this season. If we make the right decisions, I'm sure we will be there."

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