Ceballos Still Needs To Prove He’s Good Enough by Dan Smith
Reports in Spain are suggesting that Dani Ceballos extending his loan with Arsenal is not as certain as it was a couple of weeks ago. I’m not referring to him being pictured in a Real Sociedad shirt (he supports them) but the news that Real Madrid might want to give him a chance in the first team.
The irony being that back in January it was unlikely that Real or the Gunners wanted him. It’s a credit to his form that gooners would now be bothered if he stayed with his parent club. Be honest pre-lockdown would you have lost any sleep if I said Ceballos wouldn’t be in North London next season?
It would be cruel on Arteta as it was his tactical insight that made the player better, dropping him deeper into the ‘Pirlo’ position. It’s not a role he had played before, and it’s harsh that Zidane might now steal the idea, although the point of the loan was for the youngsters development, Real always maintained he had a future at the Bernabeau.
Despite winning La Liga, their midfield is ageing and due to the Pandemic, it’s not as easy as it once was for them to cherry pick anyone they want. Why spend 40 million on a new midfielder when you already have an employee stealing the show in the FA Cup Final?
Yet it’s what he did at Wembley which has made things confusing. Some suggest that Real are bluffing, hinting of a U-turn to pressure us into paying a transfer fee so we don’t regret missing out on the Spaniard.
If he had done what he had done to Chelsea more regularly then I think we would, but he didn’t, making him a hard player to gauge. As great as August 1st was, we can’t let that influence our judgement. That was a tiny piece of a larger pie called the whole season.
I think because of the 3-month break, the first half of the campaign feels so long ago. In a sense it was, it’s still technically going on a whole year after it began yet when reviewing his performances, you have to consider the dark days of Unai Emery, you can’t just reference the final 10 games.
In many ways he embodies the two Arsenals in 2019/2020, the one under Emery and the one under Arteta, but even when our managers changed, it wasn’t till February when we started to see a partnership with him and Xhaka. In truth I need to see more of that until I would want us to commit to this player.
In reality he’s had more bad games then good. Yes, he will always be remembered for the Cup win, but you can’t simply pick the games that suit your argument.
History will say he was part of winning silverware, but we can’t ignore he was part of our worst League finish in 25 years either.
Remember that will be part of his learning process. He’s shown how good he can be, so the next challenge will be to do that consistently and to cope with expectations of a crowd, now relying on you to be one of the most important people on that pitch. He won’t survive at the Bernabeau without that mentality. I think it’s hard for all parties.
He ended the season good enough for another loan spell but overall, not good enough for us to be convinced to buy him outright.
Zidane might think he’s good enough where he might regret not having him for another season, but not good enough to assure him he’ll play every week.
Bearing in mind Ceballos’ decision will be influenced on what gives him the best chance of going to the Euros with his National team. If that competition had gone ahead last month like planned would he have made the Spanish squad? It would be touch and go, but they wouldn’t just base it on a couple of months, they factor in the whole season.
And so should we…