Arsenal have confirmed the loan signing of Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid.
Ceballos for his career has started primarily from the left hand side of the field, allowing him to cut inside on to his dominate right foot. The majority of his time at Real Madrid has played as a left sided midfielder but in the past has been able to play further up the pitch.
Most recently he has done this more attacking role for the Spain U21 team, where he played half of his minutes from the attacking midfield position.
He will give Emery options for rotation among the midfielders and attackers and while not a like for like Aaron Ramsey replacement (there really isn’t one) he should be more than capable to filling the minutes that Ramsey gave Arsenal in midfield and attack while also allowing Emery flexibility to vary his tactics depending on the opposition.
1.15 – Open play shots per 90 minutes in 2018/19 with Real Madrid. 49th percentile among midfielders.
1.04 – Open play shot per 90 for his career. 44th percentile among midfielders.
0.14 – Open play xG per 90 in 2018/19 with Real Madrid. 54th percentile among midfielders.
0.10 – Open play xG per for his career. 44th percentile among midfielders.
0.22 – Goals per 90 in 2018/19 with Real Madrid. 70th percentile among midfielders.
0.19 – Goals per 90 for his career. 67th percentile among midfielders.
Ceballos doesn’t shoot a ton and I wouldn’t expect that would change in the Emery system that doesn’t produce a high volume of shots overall. When he does shoot his shots are pretty good (0.08 xG per shot), especially for a midfielder who doesn’t get many touches in the box. He has also produced more goals than expected suggesting that perhaps that he has good ball striking ability but with just over 100 shots in his sample size it is too small to draw large conclusions.
93.7% – Pass Completion percentage in 2018/19 with Real Madrid. 98th percentile among midfielders.
87.7% – Pass Completion percentage for his career. 96th percentile among midfielders.
6.1 – Final third entries per 90 in 2018/19 with Real Madrid. 92nd percentile among midfielders.
7.7 – Final third entries per 90 for his career. 96th percentile among midfielders.
1.3 – Successful passes into the box in 2018/19 with Real Madrid. (I don’t have the percentile information for this right now, I’ll have to get to that eventually)
1.6 – Successful passes into the box for his career.
1.7 – Key passes in 2018/10 with Real Madrid. 80th percentile among midfielders.
1.4 – Key Passes for his career. 71st percentile among midfielders.
0.11 – xG assisted in 2018/19 with Real Madrid. 53rd percentile among midfielders.
0.14 – xG assisted for his career. 70th percentile among midfielders.
1.01 – Dribbles per 90 in 2018/19 with Real Madrid. 45th percentile among midfielders.
2.4 – Dribbles per 90 for his career. 97th percentile among midfielders.
As a creative and technical player Ceballos really shines. His passing is among the best in the world. He completes passes at a rate much higher than expected, given where he was passing from and too, my expected passing model shows an average player would have completed around 84% of his passes while Ceballos completed over 93%.
His ability to progress the ball is also very good, both last season for Real Madrid and for his career. This is something that can really help Arsenal as they have become very dependent on Granit Xhaka to be able to connect the midfield and attack. He also does well creating for team mates and advancing the ball into the box.
2.31 – Tackles per 90 minutes in 2018/19 with Real Madrid. 53rd percentile among midfielders.
2.83 – Tackles per 90 minutes for his career. 73rd percentile among midfielders.
1.08 – Interceptions per 90 minutes in 2018/19 with Real Madrid. 24th percentile among midfielders.
1.61 – Interceptions per 90 minutes for his career. 47th percentile among midfielders.
1.15 – Fouls committed per 90 minutes in 2018/19 with Real Madrid. 69th percentile among midfielders.
1.57 – Fouls committed per 90 minutes for his career. 43rd percentile among midfielders.
Ceballos’ defensive stats suggest a player that puts in work on the defensive side of the ball and that should endear him to the Arsenal fans. These statistics are not adjusted in anyway for possession, which might under count his abilities some as the Real Madrid and Spanish national teams have a lot more of the ball.
After looking at his stats and watching some video, I think that this shows that Ceballos can play in a midfield two and not be a defensive liability while also perhaps fill the “pressing 10” role that Emery has shown that he would prefer.
Overall I am excited for this move, I wish there was an option to buy because I think that he has enormous potential. His numbers for Real Madrid last season came against a lot more of the weaker teams in the league, with only a match against Valencia
As a short term option to strengthen the Arsenal midfield and provide depth at a number of positions it makes a lot of sense.
Sources: Opta via Whoscored, my own database and wyscout.