Football News

Why Dani Ceballos chose Arsenal despite having Liverpool ‘after him’ in transfer market

By Ollie Thomas

Published: 17:33, 12 February 2020

Dani Ceballos has revealed Arsenal’s play style was the reason for him choosing the Gunners over Premier League rivals Liverpool in the summer. 

Jurgen Klopp’s side were reportedly after the Spanish playmaker as he looked for a temporary departure from Real Madrid, but he opted for a move to North London instead.

Ceballos’ Arsenal career: Five things to know…

  • Dani Ceballos made his Premier League debut as a substitute away at Newcastle on the opening game of the 2019/20 season.
  • He wowed the Emirates faithful with a dazzling display against Burnley on his home debut the following week.
  • However, that was the only game in which he has managed a goal contribution.
  • He hasn’t played in the league since November after suffering with injury problems.
  • There were rumours that his loan will be cut short in January, although this hasn’t transpired.

The Real Madrid loanee was highly sought after in the summer but ended up joining compatriot Unai Emery at Arsenal. The former Arsenal boss has since been replaced by another Spaniard, Mikel Arteta, a decision which will have initially disappointed Ceballos.

He revealed in a recent interview with Marca that Emery played a big role in attracting him to Arsenal amidst offers from a host of other clubs.

He said: “I was proud to have a club like Liverpool after me, but I chose Arsenal because of Unai Emery and how he was with me. Right now, I wouldn’t fit in at Liverpool very well.

“Unai was key to me being at Arsenal. I went to play at a club like Arsenal because, apart from the fact that it’s a massive club, Unai practically came to my house to tell me that he loved me as a player, that he’s been in love with me since I played for Betis.

“The confidence of a coach is key to giving your best performance. Unai told me that I would be important with him at Arsenal and I didn’t have any doubts about going there.

“[Jurgen] Klopp is a great coach but you have to look at the playing philosophy of each team. Right now, my style of play wouldn’t fit in the best possible way in a team like Liverpool. Still, being linked to the best teams just shows I am doing things right.”

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Why haven’t things worked for Ceballos?

After Ceballos’ man-of-the-match display on his home debut, during which he registered two assists, many thought this could be the start of something special for the Spaniard. Fast forward to February and his loan spell is coming to a tepid end.

There are a few obvious reasons for this: for one, having a torn muscle bundle for nine games doesn’t help. Secondly, the sacking of Emery has had a detrimental effect on his playing time: since Arteta was appointed, he hasn’t played a minute of league football, despite being fit enough for the matchday squad.

Arteta clearly has a preference in Mesut Ozil, with whom he has shown incredible patience since he reintroduced him to regular first-team football. However, Ozil’s floundering performance levels may just leave the door ajar for Ceballos to swoop in and take his chance.