Dani Ceballos will leave Arsenal at end of his loan spell and return to Real Madrid, according to Fabrizio Romano, who adds that the decision was made ‘weeks ago’ and that the future of the midfielder will be decided afterwards.
Ceballos joined the Gunners initially in the summer of 2019 on a season-long loan. His importance to the team grew apace after Mikel Arteta replaced Unai Emery in the dugout, and he formed a regular partnership with Granit Xhaka in the middle of the park as Arsenal improved their form late on and went on to win the FA Cup and the Community Shield.
However, the club were either unable or unwilling to meet Real’s demands to turn the deal into a permanent one last summer, and settled for another temporary agreement instead, before adding Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid to the ranks as well. Overall, Ceballos has so far made 75 appearances in an Arsenal shirt, scoring twice and producing five assists.
It remains unclear whether Arsenal have once again been unable to negotiate a fee for a permanent transfer with Real, or if they decided against it for purely football reasons. But if Romano has been informed correctly about the decision being made some time ago, it would suggest it had nothing to do with the way Ceballos performed in the Europa League semifinal defeat to Villarreal on Thursday.
Having been booked in the first half, the 24-year-old was apparently instructed by Arteta not to risk a second yellow and was about to be replaced by Gabriel Martinelli, when he appeared to have disregarded the manager’s warning and got his marching orders in the 57th minute.
Fortunately, Arsenal managed to score a vital away goal after going two down, courtesy of a penalty converted by Nicolas Pepe, before Villarreal’s Ettiene Capoue followed Ceballos down the tunnel for the same reason with 10 minutes to go.