I wasn’t 100 percent sure if I should do a post on Dani Ceballos because he did play for Arsenal last season but in the end, it is still a player coming into Arsenal. I do wish that this was a permanent move but if the alternative was him playing for another team, I will gladly make that trade-off.
Dani Ceballos Radar:
Dani Ceballos: By the numbers
(Stats are all per 90 unless otherwise noted, percentiles are for Big 5 Midfielders for 2016-17 to 2019-20 seasons [1303 players], rank is for the 2019-20 season[439 players])
Shots – 0.7 per 90, 26th percentile, rank 308
xG – 0.04 per 90, 27th percentile, rank 314
Key Passes – 1.54 per 90, 83rd percentile, rank 79
Open Play Key Passes – 0.96 per 90, 69th percentile, rank 146
xG Assisted (xA) – 0.1 per 90, 70th percentile, rank 148
Shot Creating Actions – 2.5 per 90, 70th percentile, rank 145
Passes into the Penalty Area – 1.6, 94th percentile, rank 29
Looking at his attacking numbers and how he played at Arsenal last season what sticks out to me is that for the most part, he isn’t the one to provide the final ball or to get on the end of moves, with just 1.5 open play shot and key pass per 90
His creative numbers, while not elite, were among the best on an Arsenal team that was sorely missing players who could provide the final ball. How that might change next season really depends a lot on the role that he is asked to play and the formation that Mikel Arteta settles on. If the end of the season is any indication, Ceballos could be asked to take on a deeper role meaning that he connecting play will be more important (and probably better match his skills) for Arsenal.
Pass Completion – 83.9%, 72nd percentile, rank 112
xPassing – 79.6%
Passer Rating – 87, 87th percentile, rank 56
Progressive Passes – 6.49 per 90, 85th percentile, rank 67
Progressive Distance – 294.7 per 90, 87th percentile, rank 56
Final Third Entry Passes – 6.38 per 90, 90th percentile, rank 43
Passing Value Added – 0.12 per 90, 82nd percentile, rank 75
xG Buildup – 0.35 per 90, 83rd percentile, rank 79
Dribbles completed – 1.54 per 90, 83rd percentile, rank 100
Progressive carries – 7.2 per 90, 96th percentile, rank 24
Progressive distance carried – 213 per 90, 97th percentile, rank 19
Dispossessed – 1.33 per 90, 24th percentile, rank 311
Miscontrolled – 0.64 per 90, 60th percentile, rank 136
xTurnovers – 2.37 per 90, 0.4 less turnovers than expected (you can read more about the xTurnovers metric here) 55th percentile, rank 203
These are the skills that Ceballos has that makes me appreciate him and why I so badly wanted him back at Arsenal. Ceballos isn’t creative in the classic usage for describing a footballer, but he uses his creativity in a deeper role to rank very highly in his ability to progress the ball.
His passing is good, but probably a step below elite levels. I think that this is something that he could see improvement in this season as Arsenal develop a (hopefully) better attacking and buildup structure.
Tackles, attempted – 4.68 per 90, 83rd percentile, rank 69
Tackles, successful – 2.39 per 90, 63rd percentile, rank 141
Interceptions – 1.76 per 90, 80th percentile, rank 95
Blocked passes – 0.59 per 90, 13th percentile, rank 353
Fouls committed – 1.01 per 90, 79th percentile, rank 89
Ball recoveries – 8.09 per 90, 87th percentile, rank 50
Aerial Duels, Total – 1.76 per 90, 30th percentile, rank 296
Aerial Duels, Won – 0.48 per 90, 13th percentile, rank 382
Pressures – 23.56 per 90, 81st percentile, rank 93
Successful Pressures – 6.33 per 90, 79th percentile, rank 123
Looking at the stats above might not at first glance look too impressive but I think that these are very respectable numbers, especially considering that he played quite a few minutes in a more advanced role under Unai Emery with a smaller defensive responsibility beyond initiating the press.
The numbers don’t suggest that he is the second coming of N’Golo Kante but I think that these look good for a player that will be sharing the responsibility with a partner in the midfield.
I think that Arsenal would be hard-pressed to find a better all-around midfielder that is available in their price range and would be willing to play for Arsenal. Even better, Ceballos has played with this very team and won’t need any time to adapt and should be ready as soon as he is fit.
It doesn’t appear that there is an option or obligation to buy at the end of the year but hopefully, this move continues to work out well for the team and player that can be sorted out without too much worry when the time comes.
Sources: Opta via whoscored and my own database, StatsBomb via FBRef