Dani Ceballos is stuck in a strange situation. His loan spell hasn’t gone down as good as many expected and that has brought about a needless hindrance in his career. And while reports say that he is pondering his future, he is reaching a critical point of his career.
At Arsenal, Ceballos has made only 11 Premier League appearances. While he did sustain a muscle injury, but Ceballos hasn’t played in the competition despite being fit in the last four games. Even in the club’s recent 2-1 win over Bournemouth in the FA Cup, Ceballos could play only 21 minutes of first-team football. The victory saw Arsenal through to the next round and they are now being priced as 3rd favourites for the cup at 5/1, so you can compare the best football betting sites at bettinglounge and see which one is offering you the best price.
Mikel Arteta has been using Mesut Ozil on a regular basis this season. His presence on a regular basis in attacking midfield has seen Ceballos get sidelined. Against Bournemouth, Arteta fielded a young side that came out with flying colours.
But the problem for the player is much more than being behind the pecking order. It is about finding his position and knowing where his spot in the team lies.
Even under Unai Emery, Ceballos didn’t have a fixed spot in midfield. He made eight appearances in central midfield, playing just as many times in attacking midfield. One of the appearances came in the left of the front three. Emery’s indecisiveness, in general, didn’t help the Spaniard.
This is the same Ceballos who was starring for the Spanish Under-21s side in the European Championships of 2019. He played five games in the competition, contributing to four goals. In a possession-based system, he had to drift wide and be centrally while starting as the attacking midfielder.
Arteta too brings a possession-based system to the plate. That is why Ozil did enjoy a bit of a resurgence early on, before fading off gradually. Creative players like Ceballos and Ozil thrive on the team and themselves having a lot of the ball.
His time with the Spain U21s shows that he certainly has the quality. His compatriot Hector Bellerin did hail him when Ceballos had joined on loan.
Bellerin said (via the Sun): “He’s a great player, I think he’s going to be a great addition to the team and the Premier League is going to be very different to any other league, but he’s shown in training that he’s ready for it.
It shows that there is very much a player in there. Arteta might have reasons that no one else knows of. But this is a player who is 23 and wants regular first-team football to thrive. And being on a loan deal, it isn’t a promising sight.
And at Real Madrid, that isn’t too pleasing either. Federico Valverde’s emergence this season has seen him eclipse Luka Modric under Zinedine Zidane. They still have Casemiro and Toni Kroos. And three of these four players usually start in a midfield three.
Isco is another option and so is James Rodriguez. More than that, they have seen Martin Odegaard do very well at Real Sociedad- contrary to Ceballos. The Norwegian has a tally of four goals and five assists in 19 La Liga games. Considering how much Real have waited for him, they can’t let him go at this point.
That should raise eyebrows for Ceballos. He can go back to a situation that may not use him as often as he would have expected to. It will not aid his development, considering how less gametime he might get at the Santiago Bernabeu.
And not being valued at Arsenal isn’t a help either. The best option for Ceballos is to move on from not just Arsenal but from Real as a whole. There won’t be a shortage of suitors for him.