The unexpected break in football has given teams the chance to hit pause on the usual club activities and evaluate their priorities heading into the summer.
For Arsenal, that means identifying transfer targets for new boss Mikel Arteta so he can begin to shape the Gunners’ squad to his liking.
Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari both arrived in north London on loan during the January transfer window but as of yet, the club are yet to make the first permanent signing of the Arteta reign.
One man who could fulfill that role is already on the books at the Emirates, albeit in a currently temporary capacity.
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Dani Ceballos joined the Gunners from Real Madrid on loan last summer and with time running out on that deal, a decision must be made over whether or not to make the move more lasting and secure a permanent transfer for the Spaniard.
But should Arsenal make Ceballos a permanent member of the squad? Has he shown enough during his time in north London to justify it?
Let’s take a look…
The case for signing Ceballos to a permanent deal
Despite the Arsenal stereotype of being a team full of creative midfield playmakers and not much else under Arsene Wenger, the Frenchman actually left the side a bit low on creativity when he stepped down two years ago.
Since the loss of Santi Cazorla first to injury and then to Villarreal, Mesut Ozil has been the only real creative spark in the senior team.
While Joe Willock continues to develop and fight for more game time, there is a distinct lack of playmakers in the Arsenal squad which is why the arrival of Ceballos was so promising.
The Spaniard showed quickly that he could be that creative hub for the team, bagging two assists in a man of the match performance against Burnley on his first competitive start for the Gunners.
Ceballos was direct, energetic and surprisingly in tune with his teammates that day in what was an incredibly encouraging first outing in a red shirt. He has since shown flashes of that brilliance but has not been given a proper run in the team to establish the kind of rhythm such a role demands.
Just as he was starting to get things going with an impressive performance in the win over West Ham United, the season was put on hold. But with a bit more time in Arteta’s system, both the player and the manager can understand each other better and figure out how to put Ceballos in the best position to succeed.
Without Ceballos, Arteta has only an ageing Ozil and an inexperienced Willock to be the creative fulcrum of the team. While he might not be the finished product yet, Ceballos’ promise is more than enough to justify a permanent deal.
The case against signing Ceballos to a permanent deal
To put it lightly, Ceballos has been inconsistent. The Spaniard has been in and out of the team and failed to really live up to…