Although the Spaniard switched to Arsenal for £10m on the final day of the transfer window last month, Toffees boss Moyes has revealed that the 29-year-old wanted to leave a year ago.
"Mikel had a chance to go the year before," Moyes told talkSPORT.
"But I made him stay because I thought last year we had our best chance of finishing right up there at the top of the Premier League. But it didn't turn out that way."
Meanwhile, the Scottish boss will host bitter rivals Liverpool in the Merseyside derby this weekend.