Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has admitted that he is keen to keep on loan Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos at the club for next season.
The 23-year-old started the season slowly but his performances for the Gunners have improved since the start of the second half of the campaign.
Ceballos is now an influential player within the Arsenal dressing room and scored a last-minute winner last week to help Arteta’s side defeat Sheffield United in the FA Cup.
Speculation was rife in January that suggested Ceballos was looking to end his time with Arsenal.
Arteta then challenged him to deliver strong performances on the field – and it appears that Ceballos has since won over his manager.
“I am really happy with him,” the Arsenal manager said, according to Sky Sports.
“I love how much he likes to play football, the passion he puts into every training session and in every game. His celebrations, whether he’s on the pitch or on the bench, he puts his life into it,” said Arteta.
“He’s evolving the right way and has become a really important player for us.
“We are talking to the club – obviously we don’t own the player, it’s not in our hands. The clubs need to have communication and see what we can do.”
Ceballos joined Arsenal on loan from Real Madrid last summer. He joined Los Blancos from Real Betis in 2017 but struggled to make an impact at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Prior to joining the Gunners on loan, he had made just 35 La Liga appearances for Madrid, scoring five goals.
Like has happened to many players who set foot at the Bernabeu, Ceballos had struggled to exert himself at the club.
One can argue that it was not entirely his fault. Moving to Real Madrid, especially as a young player, is never an easy task.
Very few youngsters actually manage to become first-team regulars in the team which has a reputation for buying stars for high amounts when they are in their prime.
The nine times capped Spain international appears to be happier now and it may suit Arsenal and the player if he remains at the Emirates Stadium.