Dani Ceballos plays down rumours he could have left Arsenal in January
Dani Ceballos has promised Arsenal fans he will be an ‘important’ player after the winter break and shut down rumours he could have left the club in January.
The 23-year-old attacking midfielder, who joined on loan from Real Madrid last summer, was a regular in Unai Emery’s first-team but has since struggled for form and fitness and made just one substitute appearance under Mikel Arteta.
Valencia registered an interest in Ceballos last month and the Spain international briefly considered terminating his loan deal at the Emirates to secure a move back to La Liga towards the end of the transfer window.
But Ceballos decided to fight for his place under new head coach Arteta and has vowed to repay the faith supporters have shown in him since he arrived in north London.
‘I have never had a quiet transfer market, neither in summer nor winter,’ Ceballos told Spanish outlet Marca.
‘It is a sign that you do things fairly well so that there are teams interested in you.
‘But it is also true that I like stability at a club and I decided to stay at Arsenal because they signed me and I want to restore trust because I think it is time to step forward.
‘It seems silly, but Arsenal fans have a song dedicated to me. There are only three or four players on the team who have a song and they have been there for many years.
‘I feel very loved every time I play at the Emirates.’
Ceballos believes a build-up of too many games may have caused the hamstring injury which sidelined him from the beginning of November through to the end of January.
‘It was due to an excess of matches,’ he added.
‘I had 17 games in two months, I was the only player who had played all those games. At that time I spoke with Unai and told him that in all competitions, as long as I could and my body allowed it, I wanted to play it all.
‘Sometimes you have to learn from mistakes. It cost me an injury, but you learn a lot.’
Ceballos is confident he will be a key player for the Gunners in the second half of the campaign after putting his injury problems behind him.
‘Mikel is going to be a great coach,’ he said.
‘He has learned from Pep [Guardiola], he has a game philosophy that I think fits perfectly in what he asks for his team.
‘Yes, it is true that he has arrived in a difficult situation for the club but mentally he is the coach that I think is what Arsenal need right now.
‘Since I came back I have been working with him just two weeks and now is when I have to show him that I am fit to play in Arsenal. After the break I will be important.’