Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos, who is currently out on loan at Arsenal, has reportedly emerged as a summer transfer target for Atletico Madrid.
According to a report from Spanish outlet El Gol Digital, Atletico Madrid are plotting a raid on local rivals Real Madrid for the signing of midfielder Dani Ceballos at the end of the season when his loan deal with Arsenal runs out.
A product of the Real Betis youth setup, Ceballos grew into a regular with Los Verdiblancos’ first-team before jumping ship to Real Madrid in the summer of 2017. Despite making some vital contributions, the 24-year-old struggled to carve out a regular place in the starting XI at the Santiago Bernabeu, leading him to secure a loan switch to Arsenal in the summer of 2019.
Having enjoyed a fairly decent 2019/20 campaign, Ceballos returned to the Emirates for another loan stint last summer. However, this time out, the Spaniard has not been able to perform at the levels expected and, as a result, has been in and out of Mikel Arteta’s starting XI on a constant basis. So far in 2020/21, the 24-year-old has three assists from 38 games in all competitions.
With his loan spell with Arsenal set to expire in a few weeks, Ceballos revealed in a recent interview that he wants to further his career in Spain. This has seemingly alerted a number of clubs in La Liga. Former side Real Betis are said to be keen on taking him back to Estadio Benito Villamarin in the summer, but Atletico Madrid stand in their way.
Diego Simeone’s side, who are currently the league leaders in Spain, are looking to reshape their midfield unit ahead of next season. Lucas Torreira’s loan deal will run out at the end of the current season while there have been reports that Atletico are also ready to cash in on Saul Niguez, sparking interest from the likes of Barcelona and Manchester United.
Such a scenario would open up slots in the middle of the park that will need to be filled, making Ceballos a viable target for the Colchoneros. Atletico have reaped great benefits from raiding their neighbours for one of their midfielders in Marcos Llorente recently and will be hoping to enjoy similar success with the signing of Ceballos as well.
The 24-year-old, for his part, has made it clear to Real Madrid that he does not desire to move to another club on loan and is seeking a permanent exit, given as he does not feature in the plans of Los Blancos’ manager Zinedine Zidane. It now remains to be seen if Atleti are able to secure the signing of Ceballos or explore alternate options, with Barcelona’s Miralem Pjanic also being offered to them.