It’s not a massive surprise that Dani Ceballos intends to leave the Emirates at the end of his current extended loan spell, to return to either Real Madrid or Real Betis. It’s been reported that the Spaniard is keen to move back to his homeland rather than remaining in North London.
If that’s what he wants, then that’s fine because although he has shown flashes of class and pedigree, it hasn’t been enough to push the club into a permanent deal. Yes, there was an injury that prevented him from featuring more often, but Arsenal needs a more dynamic and aggressive, midfield playmaker.
If Arsenal have any sense, they will now abandon their loan policy because to date, it has cost a small fortune without yielding anything much in return. Ceballos has the potential to develop into a world-class player within the next few years but Arsenal are not in a position to wait for that to happen.
The midfield, like the defence, is a major concern and this season has shown that the Gunners need a slick and seasoned operator or someone who can jump into the Premier League feet first to achieve the required standard quickly.
For all his nice touches, flicks, layoffs and delightful passes, Dani Ceballos lacks consistency and on occasion, seems slightly intimidated by the Premier League. It could be that he has failed to command a regular starting slot with Real Madrid and this has impacted his confidence. As a result, he needs time to find his true form but seriously, if you’re not knocking on the door of Real’s first team, are you going to fare any better in the elite Premier League?
Bruno Fernandes has been a revelation at Manchester United and looks every inch the missing ingredient at the heart of midfield. Arsenal will need something similar as Arteta rebuilds but in the current circumstances, will he have the finances?
There’s a lot for the Spanish coach and the North London club to contemplate in the coming months and negotiations for any player will likely be hard-fought because of the unpredictability of the game in the future. Clubs are going to look for reductions and assurances in the form of new clauses in their contracts to compensate them if the same disruption occurs.
Arsenal already have Joe Willock from the academy who has looked good in spells but in my opinion, he is currently a season or two away from being an influential force. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Emile Smith Rowe don’t appear to be a consideration for a regular berth next season at this stage either.
Out of those three prospects, it’s generally thought that Smith Rowe is better equipped to take on the role ahead of the other candidates, but Miguel Azeez is a name that may have a breakthrough year next season. Ozil is in the twilight of his Emirates career and Arteta needs a provider of the same class, but with the work ethic of Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard.
For those that have long memories, I’ll mention the names of Liam Brady, Charlie George, Patrick Vieira, and Ray Parlour, who were worth their weight in gold and were blessed with amazing levels of energy and boundless ambition.
Arsenal may be holding out for a swap plus cash deal for Aubameyang, but unless Arteta can convince Dani Ceballos that his plans to revamp the team will complement his vision of the future, his Arsenal and Premier League career may be over.