It has been reported that Dani Ceballos prefers a move back to Real Betis to an Arsenal stay. Such reports beg the question: Will he become another that got away?
Upon arriving at Arsenal, the loan signing of Dani Ceballos worried many supporters. After the disastrous loan spell of Denis Suarez, who also came on a temporary basis from Spain, the worry of many fans was understandable. However, contrarily to Suarez, Ceballos has seemingly found the transition from football in Spain to the Premier league a relatively seamless one.
The Real Madrid loanee possesses the tenacity that is required from a player to effectively play in English football. Along with a supreme level of technical ability, it is his aggression mixed with his talent on the ball that allows him to be successful and is reminiscent of Santi Cazorla’s style of play.
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The 23-year-old had a hot and cold start to life with the Gunners. He produced a Man of the Match performance against Burnley but then struggled against Liverpool before suffering a nasty hamstring injury. After the unfortunate spell on the sidelines, the midfielder fell down the pecking order and even after returning to full fitness, he struggled to earn a starting role.
New head coach Mikel Arteta made him an ultimatum. He publicly said that the player must train better in order to earn his spot back. Since the ultimatum, Ceballos has apparently trained harder, with Arteta even saying that he is now training like an “animal”. And now that the Madrid man has found his form, a large portion of supporters would like him to stay at Arsenal.
Real Madrid are said to be holding out for £40 million. While I would argue that it may be difficult to find a player of Ceballos’ ability for a cheaper fee, it does still seem a lot of money for the club to splash, especially given the financial pressures that the club is under with Champions League football in the balance. This financial insecurity has led to indecision, with Ceballos’ future still very much in the air. Nevertheless, if they have any desire to keep him, they must act fast.
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Recent murmurs in the media stated that Ceballos would prefer a move to his former team, Real Betis. It is quite plausible that these links come from a source close to the player. Ceballos has garnered a lovely relationship with the north London club and the supporters. Why would he want to leave for a lesser La Liga side? And given the Zinedine Zidane reportedly does not fancy Ceballos, a sale is possible.
Moreover, the 23-year-old Spaniard is also keen to get into the national team squad for the now delayed European Championship competition. If he remains in the Premier League and shines, he will have a very good chance of making the squad for the tournament.
Arsenal have let far too many quality players slip from their grasp in recent years. It would be disappointing if Ceballos is another name added to the depressingly long list. He is en route to becoming another that got away, even despite the reasons to stay. If the club do not act soon, they may find themselves moping around with a Serge Gnabry level of sorrow as they lose yet another star.