Mikel Arteta made no secret of his desire to bring Dani Ceballos (24) back to the Emirates on a second loan deal for the new season. He managed to convince his fellow Spaniard to return even though, two other clubs were interested in his services.
The second loan deal was relatively easy to secure, which indicates that Ceballos is still not in Zinedine Zidane’s plans. From the player’s perspective, he wants first-team football to secure his place in the national team, and Arsenal will give him that platform and have promised him regular game time. What happens after that?
Well, it’s clear that the Arsenal boss holds the player in the highest regard and this is a move that has paved the way for a full transfer after next season. It’s a supposition at this stage, nothing has been said, but when the crowds return and depending on the team’s ability to qualify for the Champions League, it would seem that the Gunners will try to land him permanently if an option hasn’t already been secured.
I believe that may well be the case and at the age of 24, Ceballos has time to grow and become the influence that Arsenal crave. He has fantastic ability and if the injury hadn’t interrupted his debut season, we may have seen even more from him. There were glimpses of his ability to attack and defend and this time around, Arsenal have Willian as an option to sit alongside him or out on the flank.
This all bodes well on paper for the Gunners and for Ceballos himself, who just needs to showcase his entire repertoire. There should be another new midfield arrival before a ball is kicked but for now, Mikel Arteta has a reliable player who follows instructions and plays for the team.
The Spaniard also has a superb temperament and is hardly going to pick up a collection of red cards for becoming involved in the usual fracas that comes with playing in the premiership. He’s not a hot-head, prefers to control himself as well as the ball at his feet, and at the tail end of the season, he looked assured and inventive.
In Xhaka, he has found the perfect foil as they interchange going forward and backward. They also provide some additional protection for either a back three or a back five. Arsenal would have to stump up around £30m to get Ceballos permanently and the second loan deal, which I generally object to, appears to make perfect sense in the current financial climate as long as it doesn’t end there.
If Arsenal have just agreed to another loan, without any chance of signing Ceballos after that deal expires, I would question the wisdom of such a lame-ass, one-sided arrangement.