Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has thrown down the gauntlet to midfielder Dani Ceballos, after he was linked with an early exit from the Emirates Stadium.
Reports surfaced on Thursday that the Spanish loanee had been in contact with parent club Real Madrid about returning to the Bernabeu early.
According to AS, the 23-year-old is frustrated with his lack of minutes lately and has spoken with Real about cutting short his Emirates spell.
Ceballos has been in training since December, but is yet to feature under Arteta.
Speaking after the rumours, Arteta said of his fellow countryman (Sky Sports): “I heard of all of those things [speculation about a move] but I don’t have a comment.
“He needs to get back to fitness and fight for his place. After that, I will make the selection that I feel is best for the team.”
So far, Ceballos has made 17 appearances for the Gunners with his best game arguably coming on his full debut against Burnley back in August.
TBR’s view – Ceballos can flourish under Arteta
Ceballos appeared to be misused by Unai Emery, but Arteta could be the man to get most out of the star.
He works best operating as a number eight – for Real Betis, particularly in the 2016/17 season, he featured mainly as a central midfielder where he was able to break the lines with his dribbling.
He is more someone who can build from central areas, rather than operate as a number 10 like Mesut Ozil or on the shoulder of the striker.
Arteta and Ceballos is a partnership that has potential, the player just has to work his socks off to give himself a chance.