Mikel Arteta says Dani Ceballos would like to return to Arsenal but Real Madrid still seem to be deliberating over their stance on the player.
After an injury-hit first half of the season, the 23-year-old became an integral part of the Gunners midfield featuring in 13 consecutive Premier League matches and five out of six matches in our FA Cup-winning run.
At the tail-end of July, it sounded like we were close to securing another season-long loan but since then he’s been recalled to pre-season training at the Bernabeu despite a frosty relationship with head coach Zinedine Zidane.
Asked about his compatriot, Arteta explained: “We had some talks. Dani knows really well what I think about him. He was pretty clear with me as well that his intention was to remain with us.
“Obviously, Real Madrid is involved there and I don’t know yet what they want to do with the player.
“He is a player we are interested in because we really saw in the last few months of the season what he is capable of bringing to us.”
Back in Spain, El Mundo Deportivo report that Ceballos has told Madrid that he’d like to return to former club Real Betis. For that to happen, they’d need to sell a few players which could mean things drag out for a few more weeks.
While we seek clarity over Ceballos’ future, it appears that we’ll retain Mohamed Elneny as an insurance policy. Frozen out by Unai Emery, the Egypt international spent went out on loan to Turkish side Besiktas and enjoyed a solid season.
On Tuesday, he featured in Arsenal colours getting on the scoresheet in our first pre-season game against MK Dons.
A former teammate of Arteta, the boss knows exactly what the 28-year-old is about.
“I know Mo really well,” he told the press ahead of Saturday’s Community Shield clash with Liverpool.
“I played with him, so I know what he can be and I know his strengths and weaknesses really well.
“He’s a really positive character to have around and he has some really good qualities as well and like anybody else, in the moment that he is with us, he will be given all our support and the best possible environment for them to perform as high as they can.
He added: “We don’t know [if he’ll stay for the season]. The sixth of October is still too far, as I said. It’s pretty unpredictable to know what’s going to happen.”