LONDON (AFP) – Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has urged Dani Ceballos to prove he is worth keeping after the on-loan Real Madrid midfielder was linked with a return to Spain.
Ceballos joined Arsenal in August on a season-long loan, but he has struggled to make an impact and is reportedly keen to leave.
Ceballos, who has scored just once in 17 appearances for Arsenal, was sidelined by a hamstring injury last November and is yet to feature since Arteta took charge.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup fourth round tie at Bournemouth, Arteta made it clear Ceballos will have to show his quality and desire on a consistent basis.
“I had a conversation with Dani. When I joined the club he wasn’t here. He was in Madrid because he was doing his rehab for over a month with the team that owns him,” Arteta told reporters on Friday.
“It’s very early to assess what I can or cannot do with him. I heard about all those things but I have nothing to comment.
“He needs to get back to fitness and fight for his place like any other player. After that we will make a selection that is fair with what I see on the pitch.”
Ceballos wasn’t the only Arsenal player linked with a move this week after Barcelona were connected with a potential bid for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to cover for the injured Luis Suarez.
But Arteta rejected those rumours and pointed out the programme notes of the Gabon forward earlier this month which stated his happiness at the club.