Arsenal fans are thrilled about Dani Ceballos again, but with less than a handful of positive matches, he’s nearing Mesut Ozil territory.
I’m about to go somewhere really unpopular. You’ve been warned. When Arsenal signed Mesut Ozil, everyone was thrilled about it. Obviously. He was Mesut fricking Ozil. But for as good as we all knew he was and could be, he was only able to muster about six-ish months of truly incredible stuff.
Which, given that he’s been at the club for nearly seven years now, doesn’t translate to a high rate of effectiveness. Rather, I’d call it a frustrating rate of effectiveness, if anything.
Dani Ceballos had a tremendous match against Norwich. He took home man of the match by our standards here at Pain in the Arsenal. And that means he can now count himself the proud owner of about five or six truly good matches since joining the club. Having made sixteen starts and another slew of substitutions, that’s an effectiveness rate… right at about where Ozil is for his Arsenal career.
It’s hard. Because on the one hand, when you know what a player can do, you are more willing to invest in him and believe in what he will do. But then you get burned, and you hate yourself for trusting in the first place.
It’s the Ozil syndrome.
Ever since Norwich, the headlines are gushing about Ceballos, and how he could fill the creative void left by Ozil. But can he really? What leads us to believe that this small majority of effectiveness will translate to a higher level of play?
Sure, you could argue that he needs to acclimate. That’s fine. But the price of a permanent deal is prohibitive if it’s even an option. And I’m not all that enthused about the idea of trying to do what we did with Ozil all over again. The only real differences I see are that Ceballos is younger—though not by much—and Ceballos plays a more hearty central midfield role, not just a creative role.
That said, I may be revising my tune if Ceballos can turn this budding streak into something substantial. If he can run the gambit the rest of the season, even just the majority of the season, then I may find myself on board.
But that’s a big ask. We’ve been looking for it all year and he has not delivered consistent results. So we’ll just have to wait and see.