Dani Ceballos has said that staying at Arsenal would be a good step for him but concedes that his future is not completely in his hands, according to Sky Sports.
The Spaniard arrived at the Emirates on a season long loan from Real Madrid at the start of the season. He made his Arsenal debut against Burnley and created both the goals in a 2-1 victory. Gooners were absolutely taken by Ceballos and saw flashes of Santi Cazorla in his first performance in an Arsenal shirt. The next few months were a struggle for the former Real Betis midfielder who struggled with injuries and a lack of regular game time.
Mikel Arteta joined Arsenal in December and Ceballos was still injured at the time. After regaining fitness, he found game time hard to come by and some rumours began circulating that he wanted out of Arsenal in the January transfer window. The player says that everything clicked for him after the training camp in Dubai during the winter break. He said:
“The truth is that I worked so hard out there [Dubai]. I trained to my limits and now I have a very high physical level. That, combined with the part of my game that the míster likes, which is having the ball and being a protagonist, means I’m now a player who fits into his team.”
“Since we came back from Dubai, I have played practically every minute with him. That’s been thanks to him, but also thanks to what I have done and what I have demonstrated on the pitch. I told him, ‘Look, I want to show that I can play here.’ I think I have done that.”
The on loan Real Madrid midfielder has indeed started nine out of Arsenal’s last eleven Premier League games dating back to a game against Newcastle at home right after the winter break.
His bright performances in the middle of the park alongside Granit Xhaka have convinced many Arsenal fans that he is worth holding onto for longer than just this season. It seems he has had a similar effect on the Arsenal head coach. Arteta recently discussed how much he enjoyed the passion Ceballos showed after every Arsenal goal, as though he had been here his whole life. On the subject of his future at Arsenal, Ceballos said:
“Right now, I’m only thinking about the next games because if we win them, we have some chance of qualifying for the Europa League. After that, I have to be calm. I have to return to Real Madrid and they have to make a decision because I have a contract there for the next three years.”
“Once I know their decision, I will sit down with my family and the people close to me and see what’s best for me next year. But the truth is I’m very happy at Arsenal. It’s a club in which I already have a year of experience, so it would be very easy to return. I wouldn’t have to adapt to a new league or new club with a different manager and players.”
“I think it would be a good step for me. But like I said, my future depends on Real Madrid and right now I don’t know their decision.”
Since football has restarted, fans have been able to hear what the coaches are saying to the players during games. One thing that Arsenal fans have noticed is how often Arteta shouts Dani Ceballos’ name. The two have a very good relationship and Ceballos is full of praise for his head coach. On Arteta, he said:
“I love his way of seeing the game and the things he likes about football. The míster is very intelligent for such a young coach. It’s like he has spent a whole lifetime in football before this one.”
“He knows a lot about various aspects of the game and he works well tactically. It’s also clear that he has spent a lot of time with Pep Guardiola because he has a lot of the same characteristics as him.”
“I think he’s a manager who is going to be among the best in the world in the future.”
“The míster is very happy with me. He is very happy with my way of playing, above all when I have the ball, but also when I don’t. We have also spoken a lot and worked a lot on the defensive aspects of my role, my positioning on the pitch when it’s time to defend.”
“I would like to play a bit further forward, of course, but I feel comfortable in this position because I like to touch the ball as much as possible. I think I have improved a lot. The truth is that today, I am a much more tactical and technical player than I was before. And whichever position the míster needs me in, I will try to give my best performance.”
Ceballos counts Hector Bellerin as one of his closest friends and the Arsenal full back has helped him feel comfortable at the club and in London. On Bellerin’s impact on his time in England, he said:
“If you ask me about Hector, I could sit here for hours and hours telling you positive things. He has made my life a lot easier, not just internally, in the dressing room, but externally as well, in day-to-day life, getting to know the city and different restaurants. He is always accompanying me and making things easy. He has been a fundamental part of my experience here.”
Ceballos is enjoying his time at Arsenal and this may not be the end of his journey in North London. There are a lot of Gooners who are hoping he’s still at the club come next season. On being asked about Arsenal and the way forward, the Spaniard said:
“With all my respect, I think that right now – and let me see if I can word this in a way that doesn’t anger people – Arsenal is a gigantic club which is sleeping. But at any moment it could wake up and make people dream again. It could get back to where it should be, among the top four clubs in the Premier League and even fighting for the title. When it is able to make that step, I’m sure it will be one of the best teams in the world.”
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