Dani Ceballos’ loan to Arsenal has ended and he will join Real Madrid’s training when it resumes unless he’s loaned out again or sold.
Signed from Real Betis in the 2017 summer transfer window, Dani Ceballos has had a tough time at Real Madrid. He rarely got any minutes under Zinedine Zidane in the first season as the manager didn’t seem to prefer him. The next season he got more opportunities to play but couldn’t show his best form due to lack of playing time.
When Zidane returned for his second spell, it was clear that the Spanish midfielder wouldn’t get too many minutes. Considering his age and development, it made sense for Ceballos to go on loan so that he could get consistent playing time. And so, Ceballos went out on loan and joined Premier League side Arsenal.
At Arsenal, Ceballos has had an up and down time, especially before Mikel Arteta took over. After the Spanish manager’s appointment, things have been quite different for Ceballos. He’s played well and improved under Arteta and has been an integral part of the team now and Arteta likes him too.
Arteta was asked about Ceballos in a press conference published on Arsenal.com and this is what he said about him :
“He was pretty clear with me as well that his intention was to remain with us but obviously Real Madrid is involved and I don’t know yet what they want to do with the player.But Ceballos is a player that we are interested in because we really saw, in the last few months of the season, what he is capable of bringing to us.”
By the looks of it, both Ceballos and Arteta want the loan deal to continue for at least another year but don’t know what Los Blancos have planned. If the club is still to decide what to do, it would be best to keep Ceballos at Real Madrid and somehow convince Zidane to include him in his plans.
Real Madrid can’t risk only having six midfielders
Los Blancos will most probably be selling James Rodriguez with concrete links to Everton surfacing. That leaves a spot open that will be occupied by the returning Martin Ødegaard. The club doesn’t seem to be making any signings this season with the club already saying that there will be no major signings this window.
Keeping that in mind, the Whites will be left with six midfielders (Without counting Ceballos) for the new season, same as last season. There were multiple occasions last season where Madrid put out squad lists with just 3-4 midfielders due to a combination of injuries and suspensions.
Going into the new season with just six midfielders again would be a huge risk, especially considering how little break the players will be getting and how congested the fixture list is going to be. There’s a much higher risk of injuries to the players now than last season and Madrid looks very thin in midfield right now. Zidane has also seemed to favor a five-man midfield in some of the matches, which leaves only one midfielder on the bench.
Los Blancos need at least one more midfielder to help out this season. And if Madrid is reluctant to buy a new player, it’s best to make use of what the club already has in the form of Dani Ceballos.
Another advantage of keeping Ceballos is that it gives more tactical variety for Zidane. In the fixture vs Manchester City, Los Blancos were thoroughly outclassed in the midfield. It’s clear that the Whites are currently lacking quality in the midfield department, especially compared to their European rivals.
Dani Ceballos would add important quality to Real Madrid’s midfield
While adding Ceballos to the mix won’t suddenly change that, it will add more quality to a midfield that needs a revamp. Dani Ceballos in the last few months at Arsenal has shown that quality and has the potential to be even better.
The club also doesn’t have anything to lose in keeping the Spanish midfielder for a season. If at the end of the season, Zidane isn’t happy with Ceballos or if he fails to impress, the club can always sell him or add him in a transfer as a part of an exchange. With the club reportedly interested in Lyon’s Houssem Aouar and Rennes’ Eduardo Camavinga, they could use Ceballos to reduce their asking price.
By keeping Ceballos, Madrid has a player who can solve their midfield issues to an extent or a player who can act as a stop-gap until they can sign a better player or Ceballos surprises everyone and becomes a key part of Zidane’s team. Any which way, the positives of keeping Ceballos far outweigh the negatives.