Dani Ceballos is a player that could be lining up for a top-six Premier League team next season following several media reports linking him with a move to England. Sky Sports report that Tottenham have entered talks with Real Madrid to sign the talented midfielder. Meanwhile, an earlier report from Marca suggested that Liverpool and Arsenal were both interested in the 22-year-old.
The Tottenham interest makes a lot of sense. Mauricio Pochettino will be looking to add quality and depth to his midfield options this summer, following the arrival of Tanguy Ndombele. Moreover, Christian Eriksen could be on his way out of the football club before the start of the new season. According to the Mirror, his future remains uncertain following his earlier comments that he wants a new challenge. Interestingly, Real Madrid would be his ideal destination, which means that he could feature in the negotiations over Ceballos. The two clubs are known to have a very strong relationship when it comes to transfers, with a number of players moving between the two clubs in recent years.
Ceballos didn’t feature much for Real Madrid last season, totalling 23 appearances in La Liga, albeit only 13 came as a starter. It has been his recent form for the Spanish Under-21 team that has captured the imagination. The midfielder stood out, contributing two goals and two assists as La Roja eventually ran out tournament winners.
In terms of style, Ceballos shows many of the hallmarks expected from a player that has been developed in Spain. He is technically gifted with an excellent passing range. The 22-year-old looks to make a big impact on games and is always looking for possession in central areas. One of his strengths is his close ball control, as he can manoeuvre the ball in tight spaces. He has a strong awareness of his surroundings and is often seen carrying out difficult flicks to benefit his team’s possession play.
The Spaniard would call himself a number eight, as he looks to drop deep to collect possession and play a big role in the attacking transition. Ceballos is a good ball carrier, while also capable of playing long passes to launch an attack. Although it was a small sample size, Ceballos completed 3 shots, 2.8 key passes and 3.8 dribbles per game in the Under-21 European Championships, underlining the impact he can have in attack. His pass success rate of 90.1% shows that he is reliable in the possession and rarely gives the ball away, despite his advanced role.
There aren’t many obvious weaknesses to his game, but there is inconsistency in his performances. This can be attributed to a lack of a defined role at Real Madrid. If he wants to develop into a fully rounded number eight, he will need to make better runs in the final third to add a goal threat to his game. Ceballos is very threatening from range, but he could become more effective around the opposition penalty area.
The success of many Spanish midfielders in the Premier League before him means that a move to England could be the perfect next step for him. Although he will want to stay at the club, a lack of regular starts is a hurdle for him to overcome. The various reports suggest a loan move could be possible and in that sense, a transfer to Tottenham could become a logical solution.
If Real Madrid do make a move for Christian Eriksen, Ceballos is a convenient makeweight to sweeten the deal and he would benefit hugely from the coaching of Pochettino. It would add more tactical options to the squad following the Ndombele signing.
Ceballos is raw, but Premier League clubs are right to be targeting him. He could be the real deal.