As the season came to an end, one of the top questions on some Arsenal fan’s minds will have been what the club intended to do about Dani Ceballos. Obviously his loan spell was coming to an end and he would be reporting back to Real Madrid, but it was fairly well documented that Ceballos was not really a part of Madrid Manager Zindane’s plans.
There was talk of him extending his stay in London, talks of a permanent move to La Liga, reports he may end up with Real Betis, and images of him training once more with Real Madrid. At the weekend, Dani Ceballos tweeted multiple times about watching Arsenal compete and win the Community Shield over Liverpool.
The tweets won the hearts and admiration of many Arsenal fans hoping to see him return, understandably so, but also simply happy to see a player have enjoyed their time at the club enough to keep tabs on how they were fairing. As you can imagine, many took the tweets to a deeper level and suggested it bode well for future chances of a return.
Today, multiple sources, including Fabrizio Romano tweeted that Dani Ceballos will be returning to Arsenal for a second loan in North London with an agreement coming soon.
Ceballos is a prime example of what can happen to a player in their first year within the Premier League, something that makes loan spells difficult. He came into the club, took a while to get acclimated and adjusted, suffered through team struggles, missed nearly two months to injury November through December, and had to go through immense personal growth to change his mindset from a number 10, attacking midfielder to the box-to-box number 8 or 6 hybrid that Arteta saw him as.
Thats a big change to make and at a level where nearly everyone has the same level of athleticism and skill and the finest of margins show. Seeing him hit his stride and excel during the restart was exceptional and is certainly 100% of the reason that Gunners want to see him back in red and white.
Arteta said that he struggled to see Ceballos as the type of player that succeeds in the attacking midfield role, and toward the end of the season, you can see what he means. By playing as a part of the pivot, it meant Ceballos received the ball facing the game or side-on rather than back to it all. He didn’t have to struggle to find himself little pockets of space, he simply occupied midfield space which allowed him to play simply, quickly, and at times, with devastating effect.
That’s not to say there isn’t room to improve. After all, he did it for a small section of games and Arsenal were in the lower 25% of the league in chances created. But bringing him on loan is a player we know fits with Arteta’s 3-4-3, we have to believe could occupy a similar role or job if put into a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, and isn’t going to break Arsenal’s bank at this point.
Finding a way to workout a second loan spell, potentially with an option to buy this time, could be very beneficial to both clubs in the short and long term.