Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has challenged Dani Ceballos to regain full fitness and work hard to win a place in his team.
Ceballos joined the Gunners on a season-long loan from Real Madrid last summer, and so far he has racked up 17 games in the club shirt in all competitions, scoring once and assisting twice. He missed almost two months of action through a torn muscle bundle, and upon his return from injury, speculative reports appeared about him potentially wanting to cut the loan short in January. Apparently, he is very keen on securing enough game-time for Spain boss Luis Enrique to take him into account when contemplating the list of players he might want to take to the European Championship this year.
The press in Spain were quick to pick up on this, as might have been expected, and they’ve added some fuel to the fire by claiming that Valencia are considering a swoop for his services.
Asked about the attacking midfielder’s situation, Arteta seemed rather cold-blooded, which is probably as it should be. He simply said he had heard about those rumours but refused to make any further comment, apart from throwing the ball back into Ceballos’ court by saying that his compatriot needs to build up his fitness and fight for a place in the team. As for himself, as the one calling the shots, he will continue to select players in a way which ensures that the best interest of the team is served.
The boss pointed out that he has a number of players vying for that position, and even though he believes Ceballos is ready to play, he chose to go with someone else against Chelsea and leave Ceballos on the bench.
But looking at the situation from the outside, it seems that Arteta’s decisions to switch back to the 4-2-3-1 formation and to give Mesut Ozil another chance have played their part regarding the omission of Ceballos.