Why Dani Ceballos is the Spanish playmaker who can succeed where Denis Suarez failed at Arsenal

first_img Comment Zinedine Zidane’s return coincided with Dani Ceballos given fewer first-team minutes (Picture: Getty)Lopetegui was given only four months to instigate the rebuild before his sacking, his successor Santiago Solari was handed even less time and then Zidane returned with the promise from Florentino Perez that funds would be available to start over.For the third time during Perez’s reign, the club have embarked on a ‘Galactico’ driven transfer policy with Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Eder Militao, Rodrygo and Ferland Mendy all signed for around £300m, leaving the club’s clutch of young Spaniards on the fringes or offloaded elsewhere.By all accounts, Zidane was happy for Real to part with Ceballos permanently this summer to help free up funds for a move for Paul Pogba – the embodiment of a Galactico player and one of Real’s sponsor’s Adidas’ big hitters to boot – but the club’s hierarchy are less keen on the idea.AdvertisementAdvertisementPerez values Ceballos highly enough that a permanent transfer this summer was out of the question despite Zidane’s demands to sign Pogba, which played nicely into Arsenal’s hands given their north London rivals Spurs had shown interest in buying him outright.Arsenal operating under financial restrictions in the transfer market will secure an elite talent in a deal that will barely cause a dent in their reduced £45m budget, which is important given Emery wishes to strengthen at left-back, centre-back and on the flanks. Amid all the understandable frustration and disillusionment amongst Arsenal supporters at the direction in which the club is travelling under passive ownership, the Ceballos deal is Arsenal’s biggest statement signing since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018.Arsenal are acquiring a player good enough to play regularly for Champions League challenging club and although the deal is short-term in nature, it could have longer-term implications if Ceballos can help steer the side back into the top-four.It has taken longer than hoped but Arsenal have finally made a mark in the transfer market and unlike the Suarez deal, the circumstances surrounding Ceballos’ move to the club suggests he is primed to be a big hit at the Emirates.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal Advertisement Denis Suarez endured a frustrating time on loan at Arsenal last season (Picture: Getty)Considering Arsenal’s well-documented budgetary restrictions and their inability to offer transfer targets the allure of playing Champions League football, the imminent signing of Dani Ceballos on a season-long loan from Real Madrid is unquestionably a major coup.It is presumably with Ceballos in mind that Josh Kroenke, the son of Arsenal’s ‘silent’ owner Stan, stated confidently that Arsenal supporters would ‘be excited’ about the club’s transfer plans following a slow start to the summer during a rare interview with the official website.Real Madrid were so desperate to sign Ceballos ahead of arch-rivals Barcelona in 2017 that they paid Real Betis €17m to secure his services, despite the fact that the release clause in his contract was set at €2m lower.Although Ceballos hasn’t scaled the heights expected of him since his move two years ago, there have been extenuating circumstances, most notably the continued excellence of Luka Modric in 2017-18, the return of Zinedine Zidane in March and Real’s gradual abandonment of a transfer policy centred around acquiring young Spanish talent.Following Zidane’s shock departure in the wake of the Champions League final win in 2018, Real identified the then-Spanish national coach and former U17, U19 and U21 boss Julen Lopetegui as the man to usher in a new era by building around the likes of Marco Asensio, Alvaro Odriozola, Jesus Vallejo, Marcos Llorente and Ceballos. Oliver Young-MylesSunday 21 Jul 2019 7:01 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link1.9kSharescenter_img Why Dani Ceballos is the Spanish playmaker who can succeed where Denis Suarez failed at Arsenal Dani Ceballos is set to join Arsenal on loan from Real Madrid (Picture: Getty)The last time Arsenal snapped up an under-used, highly-rated Spanish playmaker warming the bench at one of La Liga’s big two clubs, it didn’t exactly go to plan.There was genuine hype around Arsenal’s loan capture of Denis Suarez from Barcelona in January given his pedigree and track record of working successfully alongside Unai Emery at Sevilla, yet he ended up playing just 95 underwhelming minutes for the club.So limited was Suarez’s impact at the Emirates, he even bypassed Kim Kallstrom as the club’s most pointless loan signing of the past decade. At least the Swede – crocked upon his arrival – scored a crucial FA Cup penalty against Wigan during his short-lived stint in London.AdvertisementAdvertisementHaving had their fingers stung over the Suarez deal, one might have expected Arsenal to steer clear of making similar moves in the transfer market for the foreseeable future, yet sometimes an opportunity presents itself that is too difficult to pass up.ADVERTISEMENT Unai Emery has been keen to strengthen his squad this summer (Picture: Getty)Although signing Ceballos permanently would be preferable, Arsenal might hope that circumstances align for them to get him next summer, as was the case with Chelsea and Mateo Kovacic, who was bought for £40m this month despite the lack of a purchase option in his loan agreement.It is also a deal that works for Ceballos given he has not yet given up on securing a place in Real’s first-team in the future. Although it appears as though he has work to do to convince Zidane of his worth, he may well be eyeing up Modric’s place for the 2020-21 campaign with the Croatian out of contract next June.While there are more glaring areas of weakness in Arsenal’s current squad, Ceballos will inject much-needed energy and dynamism into what has been a pedestrian central midfield in recent seasons.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityDuring his final season at Real Betis, Ceballos ranked third for successful dribbles in La Liga with 81 across his 30 appearances, only behind Barcelona duo Neymar and Lionel Messi, highlighting his ball-carrying qualities from midfield. Not since the Cesc Fabregas days have Arsenal possessed a player capable of quickening the pace of play through the middle.AdvertisementAnyone who has watched either or both of the previous two U21 European Championships, meanwhile, will be well aware of Ceballos’ technical ability in the final third. Spain won both competitions with Ceballos named Player of the Tournament in 2017 and in the Team of the Tournament this summer.Pick that one out 🚀Real Madrid’s Dani Ceballos opened the scoring for Spain at the Euro under-21 championships last night, but Italy came back to have the last laugh. More: https://t.co/XuTWw3FgSD pic.twitter.com/3UnAQq602P— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) June 17, 2019 Advertisementlast_img