Dani Ceballos: Arsenal re-sign Real Madrid midfielder on loan

The Spaniard made 37 appearances last season, scoring two goals, and says there was "never any doubt" about his Arsenal return

Dani Ceballos
Image: Dani Ceballos returns to Arsenal from Real Madrid for a second season

Dani Ceballos has rejoined Arsenal on a second successive season-long loan from Real Madrid.

Ceballos established himself as an influential player for Arsenal last season, and speaking to Sky Sports in July, the Spaniard expressed a willingness to return to north London for the upcoming campaign.

Arsenal have now confirmed the midfielder will return to the club on loan and head coach Mikel Arteta is pleased to have re-signed the Spain international, who made 37 appearances for the Gunners last season.

"Dani was an integral part of our team last season and finished the season in excellent form," Arteta said.

"I love Dani's passion and commitment and he's a highly skilful player. We're all delighted to welcome him back and we look forward to seeing him pick up where he left off."

Dani Ceballos and Mikel Arteta celebrate winning the FA Cup
Image: Ceballos and Mikel Arteta celebrate winning the FA Cup

Arsenal's technical director Edu added: "We're thrilled to have Dani back with us for the new season.

"We all know his qualities after an impressive 2019/2020 campaign, which ended with him playing a key role in our FA Cup success.

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"We're excited to add Dani to the list of quality players we are bringing in."

Ceballos initially joined Arsenal on loan at the beginning of last season after finding his playing opportunities limited under Zinedine Zidane at Real, who he joined from boyhood club Real Betis in 2017.

He becomes Arsenal's fifth signing of the summer, following the £27m arrival of Gabriel from Lille, permanent deals for Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari, who had been on loan, and Willian on a free transfer from Chelsea.

Arsenal are also expected to announce a new contract for club captain Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang.

The Gunners have also been boosted by the arrival of William Saliba, who spent last season on loan at St Etienne after being signed for £27m, while David Luiz signed a new one-year deal to remain with the club.

Ceballos: It's true that I had other options

DAni Ceballos
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Back in July, Arteta said he wanted to to keep midfielder Ceballos at the club

Ceballos said that there was "never any doubt" about his Arsenal return and heaped praise on head coach Arteta, who he says was a huge influence in his decision to extend his stay at the Emirates.

"I'm very pleased to be back with Arsenal," he told the club's website. "I'm very happy to have come back to a club where I feel important.

"It's true that I had other options, such as staying at Real Madrid and going back to the Spanish league, where there were teams interested in me.

"I spoke to the coach last year, before the [FA Cup] final, and told him that I wanted to stay at Arsenal and win titles. I'd been really happy with what Mikel had built at the club since he came in. I had a great time at this club last season and there was never any doubt in my mind that I wanted to come back.

"I think everybody can see what Arteta is doing at the club. He's only been here for eight months. There were three competitions we could fight for. We got knocked out of the Europa League, unfairly in my view, but then we won the FA Cup and the Community Shield, which were well-deserved titles.

"More than that, though, it's about what he's created here - there's real positive energy in the dressing room, the players are happy and everyone is doing their bit. We're bringing through young players, which I think is really important for this club, because it's something that's always been done here.

"Mikel is the right person to get this club back to where it deserves to be, which I believe is in the Champions League, competing against the best teams in Europe."

Analysis: Ceballos a key arrival for Arteta

Sky Sports' Nick Wright:

It's not the big-money midfield addition many Arsenal fans are waiting for - a move for Atletico Madrid's Thomas Partey remains in limbo for now - but re-signing Ceballos on another season-long loan deal still represents an important piece of business for Mikel Arteta.

Ceballos was one of Arsenal's best performers in the latter stages of last season, impressing alongside Granit Xhaka in an unfamiliar role at the base of the midfield and shining in a string of big games, including the FA Cup final win over Chelsea.

His combination of high energy and technical proficiency makes him a perfect fit for Arteta's style, and the Arsenal manager lobbied for his return knowing that, at 24, there is room for further improvement.

With creativity and physical intensity in abundance, Ceballos offers ingredients Arsenal's midfield otherwise lacks. It helps, too, that he already has a sound understanding with Xhaka, as well as the versatility to be moved into a more advanced role if further midfield reinforcements arrive in the weeks ahead.

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