Mikel Arteta has hinted that a deal to keep Dani Ceballos past this season is not out of the question.
It’s not clear whether Arsenal wants to keep the Spain international on a permanent basis or just extend his loan from Real Madrid for another season. Pushing for either would represent quite a turnaround for the midfielder, who, after a rocky start, has clearly won over his boss.
Ahead of Tuesday’s game with Leicester, Arteta said: “I’m really happy with him and the way he’s evolving.
“I love how much he likes to play football; the passion that he puts in every training session and in every game, you have to see it.
“Whether he’s on the pitch or on the bench, the way he celebrates the goals, how much he puts in, he puts his life into it.
“I’m really happy with him. He’s evolving the right way and he’s becoming a really important player for us.”
After demonstrating flashes of his potential early in the season, it’s probably fair to say that Ceballos has struggled to consistently impose himself on matches.
That said, since lockdown restrictions ended, he’s gradually improved. He struggled against Manchester City and Brighton, looked decent against Southampton, Norwich and Wolves and bagged a winner off the bench at Sheffield United.
At a time when Xhaka, Torreira and Ozil have missed games due to injury and Matteo Guendouzi has been dropped, he’s been a steady presence. What he does between now and the end of the month could play a big part in Arteta’s thinking.
“Yeah, we are talking to the club [Real Madrid],” confirmed Arteta.
“Obviously, we don’t own the player, it’s not in our hands, so the clubs need to have communication and see what we can do.”
In a recent interview, Ceballos made it pretty clear that he doesn’t see himself playing for Real Madrid next season. While Valencia are known suitors and he’s also drawn to former club Real Betis, he did hint that a Premier League stay is not impossible. We’ll see…