Reported last week, Arsenal were on the brink of finding a deal with Real Madrid for a Dani Ceballos return on a second season loan. Today, Arsenal’s official channels confirmed this news, and that his number 8 would be ready and waiting for him.
Dani Ceballos had a very interesting, and at times frustrating, first year in the Premier League. It took him a while to find his footing, he was determined to play in that attacking mid, number 10 role, and naturally, having the team struggle the way they did under Unai Emery is hardly an atmosphere that helps a player transition smoothly. Even when Unai was fired and Mikel was brought on board, Dani strongly considered returning to Madrid instead of completing the season. Every Arsenal fan, and likely Dani himself, will be thankful he didn’t.
Transitioning deeper into the midfield to be a part of the double pivot next to Xhaka opened up a new world of opportunity for Ceballos to leverage his passing skills and get involved in a very different way. Next to Xhaka in the 3-4-3, Ceballos was a complete two-way player that dominated the Arsenal midfield in terms of being a standout presence, helping lead the Gunners to an FA Cup final.
Ranking first in the team in touches, key passes, dribbles, tackles, interceptions, ball recoveries, and distance covered during the restart, he made himself invaluable and convinced quite a few that trying to bring him in permanently might not be a bad idea if the price was right.
Well, the price wasn’t right at roughly £40m (rumored). However, to have worked a deal with Madrid to get a second season on loan, one with much more comfort for Ceballos, could see Dani make another massive jump in what he brings to the side under Arteta as a part of the pivot within a 3-4-3 or even potentially part of a future 4-back system.
From early reports, Arsenal did not have to pay a loan fee to Madrid, but will instead cover Ceballos’ entire wages. According to goal.com, there is NOT an obligation to buy at the end of this loan either, but another successful stint could have Arsenal feeling more than willing to make this permanent.
Technical director Edu said, “We’re thrilled to have Dani back with us for the new season. We all know his qualities after an impressive 2019/2020 campaign, which ended with him playing a key role in our FA Cup success. We’re excited to add Dani to the list of quality players we are bringing in.”
Mikel Arteta said, “Dani was an integral part of our team last season and finished the season in excellent form. I love Dani’s passion and commitment and he’s a highly skilful player. We’re all delighted to welcome him back and we look forward to seeing him pick up where he left off.”
Ceballos will need to go through a quarantine period, by rule, but should be available for Arsenal’s second match against West Ham in the Premier League.
Welcome back Dani! Excited to see what you can do.