As of Thursday, Dani Ceballos is officially an Arsenal player till the conclusion of the upcoming season. The 1-year long loan deal from Real Madrid, without an option to buy was confirmed this evening by both the involved clubs.
The midfielder has been hailed as one of the biggest prospects Spain has to offer. Well, earning a move to Real Madrid at the age of 20 alone is testament to the abilities he has displayed since a very young age. Not only that, Ceballos was arguably the best midfielder at the U-21 Euros whilst earning a spot in the Team of the Tournament for the second consecutive tournament. It was at the U-21 Euros that the Spaniard really announced himself to the world.
However, that still failed to get him a solid place in Los Blancos’ line-up with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos being an integral part of Zinedine Zidane’s midfield alongside Casemiro. Adding to that brilliant midfield, Marcos Llorente and Isco, the 22-year-old found himself in a really unfortunate situation. Naturally, a move away was the best option he could take to avail a starting role and improve himself to succeed at his dream club. So joining the Emirates which was just departed by Aaron Ramsey made a lot of sense.
Moreover, snubbing arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur to join the Gunners was something the fans really enjoyed; a bit similar to Ramsey’s snub of Manchester United right before making a last minute ditch for London.
With the Welshman gone after almost a decade of service, Unai Emery really needed a similar midfielder who could carry the ball all over the pitch and bring back the dynamism the former No. 8 brought to the pitch. The Spanish international is someone who can do exactly that. Not only does he bring exactly that back, he adds his own flair to it.
Compared to the former Cardiff man, the Real loanee’s game is more focused on movement with the ball, though he is also known for making very similar runs into the box. Ceballos is known for his exceptional dribbling ability which can almost easily establish him as the designated ball-carrier of the team. Not only that, his vision is arguably better than the ex-Arsenal man with creativity being one of his biggest strengths.
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However, none of those qualities are as important as the one the North Londoners have been missing since the prime days of Santi Cazorla and that is press resistance. It is an underappreciated factor in players but plays a major role in a possession based side like the Emirates outfit. Granit Xhaka, though is a great playmaker, lacks in this department and thus cannot be expected to always keep the ball with his side.
Adding all of that to his abilities to whip a dead-ball into the back of the net makes him one of the most exciting midfield signings the Londoners have made in a very long time, maybe for the first time since the deadline day signing of Mesut Ozil.
There is a reason Florentino Perez refused to give the English giants the option to buy the player after his loan spell. A lot of potential lies in the former Real Betis star and Emery will be very grateful to have him at his disposal.