The midfield dynamo - from Utrera in the province of Sevilla - recently touched down in London on a season-long loan deal from Real Madrid with the clear focus to demonstrate his qualities which could force him back into the fold at the Bernabéu. It’s a deal which suits both parties; the player gets consistent game time and the club to keep their player in match rhythm ready for a potential return next season.
At 23 years of age, Ceballos is at a crossroads in his career. He knows this will be a make or break season to salvage his dream Madrid move and force himself into the reckoning in the international fold. He has six caps for Spain to date and earlier this summer and another feather in his cap was winning the Under-21 tournament earlier this summer with Spain in San Marino and Italy.
The player grew up in the Real Betis youth academy and started out wearing the number 46 shirt - the same number as Valentino Rossi - and the Spaniard will have to show all the velocity and drive of his number-sake to ensure he is a success over the entire season at Arsenal.
The Premier League is a different animal to La Liga - more intense, in-your-face and played at a frenetic pace. Some players need time to adapt to the difference however Ceballos has hit the ground running immediately. After a cameo appearance on his debut away at Newcastle, the young Spaniard produced a sizzling man of the match performance on his home debut against Burnley. The midfielder was all over the pitch with a dynamic performance, creating two assists for Arsenal’s 2-1 victory. He was at the heart of all the Gunner’s attacks and his drive and determination made him the team’s standout performer on the day. Granted it was only one game however, it was enough for the Arsenal faithful to give him a standing ovation when he was substituted as a token of their appreciation.
Arsenal will play away at Watford’s Vicarage Stadium following the international break and they’re 19/20 favourites to leave with all three points in the bag with Ladbrokes. The Hornets are 12/5 to win the home fixture in what will be Quique Sánchez Flores’ first match back in charge of the side. The 54-year-old took over the reins after the team sacked Javi Gracia on the weekend and will hope to dig them out of the rut they’re currently in. You can click here to see the best Premier League free bets at freebets.co.uk.
The fans have already coined a chant in his favour of ‘Oh Dani Ceballos,’ proof he has quickly developed into a fan favourite. The club’s new number eight came off the bench in his last game - in the North London derby against Tottenham - and gave his team more drive and purpose, almost scoring a terrific long range goal with Spurs’ goalkeeper Hugo Lloris having a make a tremendous save to thwart the Spaniard.
In his brief time in North London, he has already raised expectations and brought supporters off their seats with some impressive and swashbuckling performances.
With a team full of attacking talent such as Nicolas Pepe, Mesut Özil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, Ceballos should thrive in giving their attacking department the ammunition to strike gold. His verticality, mazy attacking movements from deep and effervescent nature will stand him in good stead but it remains to be seen how he will cope in the cold winter months when the going will be tough and the hard tackles will come flying in.
However, the early signs are promising with him already demonstrating further hallmarks of his in terms of his creativity, positivity, a total team player, work rate and silky skills which he brings to the table. This is providing Arsenal with a renewed cutting edge from midfield which was sorely lacking from last season when, in large dosage, the team were bland and power puff.
The signing of Dani Ceballos could be the key that unlocks the door and ultimately be the Gunner’s beacon of hope which will light up the Premier League.